Paul-Henri Bourguignon (1906–1988) was a talented visual artist, a prolific writer and journalist, a skillful photographer, and an avid observer of the human condition. Born in Belgium in 1906, Bourguignon began his arts studies in Brussels' Académie des Beaux Arts and studied art history at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. His first solo exhibition was at the Galérie d'Egmont in Brussels at age 22. Bourguignon traveled widely in France, Spain, and Italy, North Africa, Corsica, and Yugoslavia. He lived in both Haiti and Peru. He met his wife, Erika Eichhorn (Bourguignon), in Haiti, and they settled in Columbus, Ohio, in 1950 after she joined the faculty of The Ohio State University.
During his life, Bourguignon amassed a large and varied group of paintings—early gouaches and later acrylics—and numerous pencil, pastel, and ink-wash drawings. Many of the gouache paintings from the 1950s and 1960s depict rich cultural interpretations, tranquil landscapes, evocative figures, portraits, and genre scenes derived from his travels. In the 1970s, his landscapes and figural scenes were expressionistic, often with whimsical, vulnerable, or tragic figures revealed in delightfully complex interactions of brushstrokes and texture.
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