Meet the Artist: Georges de Feure

We woke the very-much-dead artist for a quick q&a.
It’s impossible to talk about the Symbolist and Art Nouveau styles of art of the late 19th century without mentioning Georges de Feure. The French painter rejected formal training and became a multidisciplinary artist on his own terms. In addition to being a fine artist, he was a theatrical designer and industrial art designer, he was an artistic advisor for the haute couturier Madeleine Vionnet, and he even worked in aviation (whew). We thought his art would make great puzzles, and we were right—check out THERAPY and SHAMED. To get De Fear’s thoughts on art, life, and these super-dreamy puzzles, we broke out our crystal ball to contact his spirit.
How did you get into painting?
I don’t remember, to be honest. I think I was always drawing as a child. In the margins of my schoolbooks, on the loose papers in my father’s office, even on my bedroom wall… my parents weren’t pleased about that.
The Source of Evil, 1894. Get the puzzle!
You were one of 11 students admitted into the Rijkscademie voor Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam for art, but you left soon after. What prompted that?
The academy was completely useless. Everyone was doing the same thing but thought that they were doing something revolutionary. Once I realized that academic training involved talking about art more than actually creating it, I got out and never looked back. I wanted to be an artist, not a philosopher.
Who or what inspired you?
I had a great deal of respect for [French painter and lithographer] Jules Chéret. He knew how to advertise anything beautifully, from soap to railroad companies. His Belle Époque cafe concert posters were revolutionary and greatly influenced my theater designs for Le Chat Noir cabaret and posters.
Out of all the mediums and careers you explored, what did you enjoy the most?
I loved painting beautiful women.
How do you feel when you look back on your life?
I don’t really like to dwell in the past. There were the highlights, of course—I had three wonderful kids, I gained recognition and praise for my art in the Symbolist and Art Nouveau styles, due in large part to the art dealer Samuel Siegfried Bing… I was even nominated for Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur, the highest French order of merit. But the end was quite sad. I died at 75 years old and destitute. Paris was occupied. When you’re at your peak, you never imagine that you’ll tumble to the bottom of the hill again. I suppose that’s one of life’s cruelest lessons: success does not guarantee financial security.
What is your favorite place to haunt?
Oh, I wouldn’t put myself through that.

How does it feel to see your work turned into a jigsaw puzzle?
It’s an honor, thank you. And may I say, the design of the puzzle is exquisite. I’ve never seen anything like it. I’d love to see how it’s made!
Unleash your inner artiste with a Georges de Feure puzzle (they double as spectacular wall art 🥹).