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Louis Fransen


Louis Fransen 
Public Art Artist (Mural, Stained Glass, etc.)

Public Art Artist (Mural, Stained Glass, etc.)

Born in Antwerp, Belgium in 1928. After visiting various districts in Mexico, based in Japan, he taught at Tokyo University of the Arts and Okinawa Prefectural University of Arts, and energetically developed public art (mural, stained glass, etc) production activities. In his works with unique modeling nuances and sophisticated color senses, even familiar motifs give us surprising and fresh impressions. In addition, he also left a number of achievements as a modeling and production specialist for public art, "translating" original paintings by other authors into murals and so on. Passed away in 2010.


Born in Beerse in the Belgian province of Antwerp on October 10, as the eldest of four children. His father was an agricultural instructor and his mother embroiderer and maker of other handicrafts.
Moved to Hoogstraten, Antwerp Province.
Graduated from elementary school. Learned of the existence of Japan by seeing the words "Made in Japan" stamped on a toy train he received as a Christmas gift. Attended preparatory school 1941.
Entered middle school.
Father killed in World War II.
Graduated from high school. Entered Malines Great Seminary, where he studied philosophy and theology.
Graduated from Malines Great Seminary and became a middle school instructor, teaching Greek and Latin.
Prepared to become a missionary. Requested to be sent to church in Japan.
Left from the port at Marseilles to do missionary work in Japan. Stopped en route at Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Hong Kong, and the Philippines, recording in sketches what he saw there.
Began work as a missionary at Himeji Catholic Church (Scheut Congregation). Began studying Japanese. Around this time, embarked on the interior decoration of churches.
Transferred to Catholic Minor Seminary in Nagasaki.
Returned to Belgium and studied as an auditor at the Antwerp Academy. Studied stained glass and ceramics. Studied stained glass work at Atelier Brabant, Netherlands. Involved in founding the Institute of Creative Education in Hoogstraten.
Returned to Japan to take up missionary work once more at the Minor Seminary in Nagasaki. Studied ceramics in Arita, Saga prefecture. Installed in Nishimachi Church his mural produced at Iwao Jiki ceramic company in Arita.
Transferred to Matsubara Church in Tokyo's Setagaya ward. Enrolled as an auditor at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music (now Tokyo University of the Arts). Appointed professor of the Oil Painting department at Junshin College in Hachioji, Tokyo (retired in 1977).
Entered Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music graduate school.
Produced stained glass as graduation work at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music graduate school. This work later installed at Himeji Church. Became research fellow at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music and began preparations to found a department for the study of stained glass art.
Appointed part-time instructor of stained glass department at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music.
Visited Mexico and formed friendships with David Alfaro Siqueiros, leader of the Mexican Mural Renaissance at that time, as well as other well-known artists like Luis Nishizawa and Mathias Goeritz. Greatly influenced by Mexican mural art, he learned both techniques and the perspective of a mural painter, expecially from Luis Nishizawa.
Visited Mexico to study Aztec and Mayan civilizations.
Visited Mexico, Guatemala, and Peru to study Maya and Inca civilizations. At the invitation of the Mexican Federation of Architects delivered lecture on arts and architecture. Solo exhibition in Belgium.
Produced ceramic mural (completed in October), The 1868 Meeting of Saigo Takamori and Katsu Kaishu, for Tamachi Station of the Japan National Railway (now JR East Japan) Yamanote Line at the request of the Japan Traffic Culture Association. Made acquaintance of Hisao Taki, executive director of the Japan Traffic Culture Association.
Supervised production (completed in February) of a ceramic mural based on Hideo Nishiyama's original painting, The Four Seasons of the Thirty-six Peaks of Kyoto Higashiyama. Resigned clerical position and left the Catholic church. Appointed director of the Modern Mural Arts Institute, founded by the Japan Traffic Culture Association. Married Ogata Michiyo.
CREARE Shigaraki Studio of Modern Mural Arts Institute, established in Shigaraki, Shiga prefecture.
Moved to Yugawara. CREARE Atami-Yugawara Studio of the Modern Mural Arts Institute established in the city of Atami, Shizuoka prefecture.
Invited prominent German stained glass designer Ludwig Schaffrath to produce a stained glass work for installation at Japan National Railway (now JR East Japan) Omiya Station. Their friendship deepened as he assisted with the production.
Participated in the seminar "Modern Architecture and Space Creation" (sponsored by Asahi Shimbunsha with the supoort of the Architectural Institute of Japan) as one of the panelists, along with Ludwig Schaffrath, Yamashita Kazumasa, Iwata Hisatoshi, Watanabe Toyokazu, etc.
Lectured on stained glass at Tama Art University. Also lectured at the Association of Far Eastern Architects and Technologists. Received the Yokohama Cityscape Award for a series of works installed in the "Porta" underground mall at Yokohama Station.
Took part in establishment of Okinawa Prefectural University of Arts and appointed professor in the painting department (retired in 1997).
Took Japanese citizenship.
Taught an intensive course at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts. Appointed visiting professor of the China Central Academy of Fine Arts.
Stained glass work installed at the Tokyo Family Court was chosen for a postage stamp commemorating the 50th anniversary of the court.
Made professor emeritus of Okinawa Prefectural University of Arts.
Passed away April 26.
日本に「1% フォー・アート」の実現を
日本に「1% フォー・アート」の実現を
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