Louis Leloup, the last Belgian Master Glass Artist
Internationally acclaimed for his glass sculptures, his artworks have become hot property all over the world. He is recognised as a star in Japan, where a museum in Kyoto is entirely dedicated to him.
In 1947, when he was only 17 years old, Louis joined the Cristalleries du Val-Saint-Lambert as an apprentice glassmaker. From a very young age, he had dreamed of becoming an opera singer. But one thing was certain: he had a powerful voice, an indispensable quality to practise the craft of glassblowing . But his strength lies above all in his mastery of molten crystal using two rods, an uncommon technique..
In the heyday of the most important industries in the Liège region, employing over two thousand workers, he was soon noticed by Master Glass artist Fernand Menegaz. Louis showed great creativity and, at the age of 27, became the head of a team of ten workers. He then produced his first artworks for the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair. But it was in 1965 that he produced his first creation, which marks the beginning of his success.. On the occasion of Queen Fabiola's visit to the Liège region, Louis Leloup created the "Madonna of the Queen", a small crystal statue of the Virgin Mary.
Over the years, Louis' technique became increasingly refined. The management of the Cristalleries du Val Saint Lambert encouraged him and even authorised him to create a few pieces that he could sell under his own name. In 1972, he felt fully matured, and resigned to fly with his own wings and give free rein to his creativity. With one single oven that could only hold about twenty kilos of material that he had set up at the back of his garden, he was still limited in his desire to create. He then went to Nancy to the Cristalleries Daum, where great artists such as Picasso, César and Dali were already signing pieces. Louis began to gain notoriety and, at the end of 1972, he presented his first exhibition at the gallery "L'Ecuyer" in Brussels. It was a resounding success!
International recognition was not long in coming. He held a series of exhibitions throughout r the world. In 1989, Louis Leloup took part in the International Art Fair in Tokyo. At the opening of the fair, a Japanese visitor offered to buy all of Louis's pieces as long as he had the exclusivity of his creations in the land of the Rising Sun in the future. His success was phenomenal. To such an extent that, since 1997, a three-storey museum has been entirely dedicated to his work in the city of Kyoto (His Majesty Prince Philippe of Belgium visited it in 1997). His international prominence was so great that he also had the honour of personally presenting his "Madonna of Light" to Pope John Paul II.
To get a more precise idea of his creative force filled with emotion, please find here a few of his creations.