CAUCHIE, Paul
(b. 1875, Ath, d. 1952, Bruxelles)

Biography

Belgian decorative artist, architect and painter. He began architectural studies at the Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten in Antwerp but broke off to pursue courses on the decorative arts at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, graduating in 1898. The tuition he received there from the painter Constant Montald (1862-1944) gave him a taste for mural art, and he soon developed a business that specialized in sgraffito painting, a technique that had recently come back into fashion. He completed some 440 design projects, most of which were for building façades and stairways.

As an interior designer, painter and draughtsman, Cauchie was influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement and the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow Style, and he produced a variety of work in the applied arts. Towards 1905 his style became more geometrical. It was at this time that he built his own studio and house at Etterbeek, Brussels, in collaboration with the architect Edouard Frankinet (1877-1937). The completion of this building alone places Cauchie among the leaders of the Art Nouveau movement in Brussels. Designed with a rather severe rectilinear façade incorporating Art Nouveau mural panels, its originality lies in the exploitation and synthesis of two favourite themes of Paul Hankar: the tower-house and the poster-façade.

Cauchie's architectural activity was limited to a few other buildings on which he collaborated with Frankinet, as well as the production of small, prefabricated and easily dismantled houses (1918) in The Hague. After 1919 he devoted himself to easel painting, mainly in gouache.