1906 Paul-Henri Bourguignon born November 18 in Brussels, Belgium. Son of Flemish mother and Walloon father.
1924 Begins to paint, at first under Armand DePauw, then with A.-T. J. Bastien (1873-1955), well-known, well-traveled Post-Impressionist landscape painter, director of Académie de Bruxelles, and member of Académie Royale des Beaux Arts. Bourguignon works in pastels, sur le terrain, visiting scenic landscapes and cities.
1928 First solo exhibition, at Galerie d'Egmont in Brussels.
All artwork is sold.
192935 Studies art history at Université Libre de Bruxelles, with thesis on El Greco. Travels to Corsica, Spain, North Africa, and Yugoslavia, as well as to Southern France and Italy.
1934 Assistant to Consul General of Haiti.
193540 Manages official tourism office for Belgium and Luxembourg. Travels often to Central and Northern Europe. Rarely painted during this period.
1940 Reporter for the Belgian national telegraph agency. After German invasion, he is ordered to report to French military forces.
194044 Under German Occupation, Bourguignon works in an agency distributing ration stamps to foreign travelers. Writes texts and translations for three limited-edition books. A play, En Écoutant Toone Jouer le Bossu, is published in 1944. Written in Brussels dialect, the text is illustrated by well-known artist, Edgard Tytgat. The volume is awarded a prize in New York and performed in Brussels in 1947.
194547 Becomes art critic for newspaper Le Phare and weekly Le Phare Dimanche. Meets and interviews numerous noted Belgian and foreign artists during this active period in Belgian art scene. (Bourguignon's columns of critical writings are later deposited in the archives of the Musée Royale in Brussels.) Establishes own gallery, Le Scorpion, in Knokke-LeZoute, Belgium.
194748 Visits Haiti with support of his newspaper and stays 15 months. Writes travel reports and fiction. Helps to promote the new Haitian primitive art movement. In addition to writing, Bourguignon is now an active photographer. Meets future wife, Erika Eichhorn (Bourguignon), an anthropologist. Haiti's strong visual and human impact remains in his work for the rest of his life.
194850 Visits Peru. Some of his Peruvian adventures are later recounted in fictional form in his novel, The Greener Grass. Bourguignon is active in writing and photography and in collecting folk and pre-Columbian art. Did not paint during this period.
195088 In 1950, Bourguignon settles in Columbus, Ohio, where his wife, Erika, is teaching at The Ohio State University. Begins painting again, no longer working with pastels but gouache and, later, acrylics, as well as charcoal, graphite, and pencil. He draws heavily on visual images he collected in his travels, including landscapes, figures, and genre scenes, loosely derived, remembered, or imagined.
Bourguignon begins to show his work in one-person exhibitions at The Ohio State University, Grinnell College (Iowa), Blanden Gallery (Iowa), the Columbus Gallery of Fine Art (now the Columbus Museum of Art) (1964), Battelle Memorial Institute (Columbus, 1965), and Jaycox Gallery (Edmonton, Canada, 1966). He begins to exhibit again in 1987 at Gallery 200 in Columbus.
Bourguignon dies September 22, 1988.
1989+ In addition to a large number of paintings, Bourguignon left a substantial number of graphic works.
Bourguignon’s paintings, drawings, and photographs now appear in hundreds of private and public collections worldwide.