At the age of three, Willy Anthoons flees to London with his grandmother and remains there until the end of the war. After the reunion of the Anthoons’ family (his father was held prisoner by the Germans in Holland), they settle in Brussels. Anthoons follows lessons at the Higher Institute for Decorative Arts, with Oscar Jespers, among others. In 1940, he is mobilised, but becomes gravely ill. The army sends him to the Ardèche in order to recover there. During this period Anthoons begins sculpting and painting. After his return to Belgium, Anthoons joins up with a few artists that were refused by the official Salon des Beaux-Arts (because of their non-figurative work). In 1945, along with Pierre Alechinsky and Pol Bury, Anthoons unites himself with the recently established group La Jeune Peinture Belge (René Lust and Robert Delevoy), which endeavours to promote young avant-garde artists for exhibitions, both in Belgium and abroad. James Ensor is the honorary president. The association organises group exhibitions in Paris, The Hague, Stockholm, Zurich and Bordeaux. With the death of the founder René Lust in 1948, the group La Jeune Peinture Belge becomes defunct. In that same year, Anthoons settles in Paris. The sculptor befriends Michel Seuphor, the sculptors Émile Gilioli, Morice Lipsi, Sesostris Vitullo, Jean Arp, Berto Lardera, Nicolas Schöffer and Etienne Hajdu. He exhibits work in various ‘salons’ such as the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles and the Salon de Mai. He also maintains contact with painters such as Gaston Bertrand, Luc Peire, Pierre Alechinsky and Alfred Manessier. A neurological illness afflicts his motor skills so that the sculptor must gradually stop with his creative work from 1977 onwards.
Source: House of Literature, Antwerp
CC-BY-NC (Creative Commons 4.0)