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Felicien Rops International Engraving Competition

In order to commemorate the 100 anniversary of the Rops' death, in homage of his open mind of searching and his friendship with artists all over the world, the society "Les Amis du Musee Rops" has decided to organise an international engraving competition aiming at a double objective:
a) to try and determine, as much as possible, the current trends in
engraving and more particularly the research and development of new techniques,
b) to bring and increase exchange between artists.


Felicien Rops was born in Namur in 1883. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Namur, but did not follow any mentor. He listened to his artist friends and began his career by founding a satiric newspaper, "Uylenspielgel" in 1856.

His first drawings,lithographs, referencing Daumier and Gavarni,are humorous and eloquently witty on politics,conformity and morals of the era.

In Bruxelles, from 1854 until 1857, he participated in an artistic circle called :Atelier St.Luc. The group consisted of sculptors, writers and poets as Constantin Meunier, Charels de Groux, Charles de Coster for whom Rops illustrated some "Legendes flamandes". On seeing the works of Courbet in 1861, he began to work realistically, exemplified by a series of paintings of different regions in Belgium.

However, after encountering Charles Baudelaire, he was inspired by the romantism and his works shifted to themes of fantasy and symbolism. Baudelaire traveled to Belgium to meet Rops and the two became friends. Rops illustrated Baudelaire's poems with the work "Les Epaves". Rops abandoned lithography for aquatint and etching which better suited his aesthetic aims. He composed many scenes asserting women's charms  and mocking the customs of the upper middle class.Often his satiric inspiration led him to erotic and macabre themes, evidenced in his illustrations of the poems of Baudelaire and Barbey d'Aurevilly. Prime examples are "Tentations de St.Antoine", "Pornocrates" and the series "Sataniques" and "Diaboliques".

He experimented a distinctive printmaking technique called "soft varnish" which resulted in an image that was very close to drawing. After years of experimentation, he mastered the technique. With this sensitive and direct style, he could capture the modern nude in motion. He sketched incessantly and his drawings testify to his remarkable intensity.
The French art critic Rene Huyghe said that had Rops been a French native, he would have been as renown as Daumier. He did have a profound influence on Belgian engravers.

Rops traveled to and worked in many other countries including (former) Spain, Scandinavia, USA, Hungary....He lived for many years in Paris until his death in 1898.


  1. Each artist will submit two prints made in 1998, the centenary year.
  2. Choice of subject is free.
  3. Choice of technique is free, as long as a matrix exists (monotype are excluded). However, use of new and original techniques will be deemed a "plus".
  4. The prints (free format) MUST be pressed on supports measuring maximum 20x30cm.
  5. The prints must be send by May 31st 1998 to the following address:
    Les Amis du Musee Rops
    Concours international de Gravure
    12 rue Fumal
    5000 Namur, Belgium
  6. In August 1998, an international jury will select the works and make awards. Any work which has been given an award will become property of the museum and will not be returned.
  7. Participants will be notified of the jury's decision by September 1st 1998 at the latest.
  8. An exhibition of the selected works will be set up at the museum.
  9. A catalog of the works will be printed. It will encompass the best works and the names of all participants. A catalog will be offered to every exhibitor.
  10. Works must be sent in a hard board envelope bearing the mention "NO VALUE PRINTED MATTER". The prints will be returned to the participants by July 31st 1999 at the latest.
  11. The organising committee shall be not liable for any loss or damage occurring during transport. However, they will be liable for any damage occuring in the museum.
  12. Entry fee: Residents abroad will make a payment of 45 US$ by WIRE TRANSFER ONLY Belgian residents only will transfer an amount of 1200 BeF on the account number 088-2101560-50, to the order of "ASBL, AMIS du Musee Rops. 12 rue de Fumal,
    5000 Namur
  13. Unselected works will be returned to the sender along with a refund of the above participation fee. Refunds will take into account postage costs and administration costs relative to the return of the works.
  14. Upon request, artists may participate in exchange option provided as follows: works from one artist along with his.her address and biography will be sent to two other selected artists.
  15. Artists must register before January 31st, 1998 and their works must be received before MAY 31st 1998.
  16. Any participant in the competition is deemed to have accepted the above stipulated rules.
  17. The works can be sold. The price will be stipulated by the artist in DM, including 25% for the society "ASBL. Les amis du musee Rops".

The current status

According to our schedule, we can mail some more information as following.

  1. More than 250 artists living in 40 countries sent their application form. The competition will be a very international one. It seems  the quality will be very high. After a very quick survey, I can say that about 40 applicants already shared between themselves 150 international; awards.
  2. The selection will be very serious, since the aim of the competition is to exhibit the best 100 prints for the 100th anniversary of Rops' death. That is why there will be 2 selections:
    a) the first selection will select 100 artists. The national jury will sit on 21st June 1998. You will be informed about the decisions no later than July 15th 1998.
    b) the second selection will award the different prizes. The international jury will sit on September 2nd 1998. The applicants will be informed about the decisions no later than October 1st 1998.
  3. There will be several Prizes and purchase prizes, total amount of 260,000 BeF (about 6800 USD).
  4. The members of the jury are: J.Meszaros - director of the international Master Biennial of Gyor, Hungary; Malgorzata Zurakowska - Polish artist; Veerle Rooms - Belgian Flemish artist; John Carter - British artist; Andre Lamblin and Claude Lorent - Belgian Art critics;  Gabriel Belgeonne and Claude Sinte - Belgian Wallen artists.
  5. The exhibition will open in the museum F. Rops, Namur, Belgium at the very beginning of December 1998, and end in February 1999.Invitations will be sent to the applicants.
  6. We have been asked to exhibit the selected prints in Tokyo, Gallery O. This project seems to be very serious.
  7. The catalogue will contain reproductions of the 100 selected prints. It will be mailed, free of charge, after the end of the exhibition.
  8. The deadline for mailing the works and payment of the entry fee is May 31st. No works will be registered after the deadline.
  9. Since some artists said they have difficulties to pay by wire transfer, it is
    also possible to pay with a bank check at the address:
    Name of the bank: Credit Communal de Belgique, rue de Marchovelette 1, 5000 Namur. Amis du musee Rops, 12 rue Fumal, 5000 Namur, bank account 088-2101560-50

    If you have any questions, please let us know at the Rops’ museum e-mail:

Fax: 0032.81.225447, Tel 0032.81.220110
or Claude Sinte (curator), Tel/fax: 0032.81.460608

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