The house

Beeld1_museumhuis Beeld9_inkomdeur After their wedding in 1954 the couple De Gheus – Druant moves into a rented house in the Casselstraat Poperinge with workshop in the loft. But in the following years the building of a house with workshop of their own is being prepared carefully. At the art academy Poperinge Lucien acquires the basis of structural drawing and his training at the art school Saint- Lucas leaves him with a good knowledge of art history and a wide interest in achitecture. Found photos and newspaper cuttings prove that he’s inspired by the modernism of Frank Loyd Wright and Le Corbusier. In Ostend he visits engineer-architect and professor Paul Felix (1913-1981), who played an important role in Belgian modernism, he meets architect Peter Callebout (1916 – 1970) and also regional architects belong to his acquaintances. These regularly offer him commissions. At Expo 58 Brussels, the advertisement of architectural renewal, he buys various sorts of building material : plumbing items, doors en wooden floor-panels from the exhibition areas. In the region he amasses natural stone from Westouter, tiles, salvaged beams and flagstones in bluestone roof tiles. In 1960 a building site is bought, situated Westouterstraat 80, at that time still surrounded by meadowland and with a view of ‘the mountains’ or the West Flemish hills. De Gheus designs home and garden himself, and leaves the official drawings to the architects Jan Carpentier and Willy Ingelaere. Right from the start the house was meant to be a sculptor’s home, with a large and high hall/exposition area, a heatable winter workshop and a summer workshop with high windows to the north to let in neutral light. He starts by planting trees and in the spring 1961 the pond is dug. The real construction work starts in autumn that year. All through 1962 he dedicates himself completely to the building of the house. Lucien de Gheus combines various sources of inspiration into a personal unity. The linear pattern and composition of the copper front door is redolent of De Stijl. Beeld12_zijgevel The south east façade with balcony resembles a chalet with view of the hills and the back façade of the atelier looks like the closed, heavily built façades in massive natural stone of a South of France mas. Beeld14_atelier In any case the house of De Gheus is meant to be a total work of art. The artist wants his creation to function as a harmonious whole. He designs the transparent female figure next to the front door, the chandelier in the hall, the stained glass in hall and living room. Beeld13_glasraam He produces the glazed floor tiles, windowsills and faience himself, and he designs the coffee table and display cases. He sculptures images in the limestone lintels and dictates the composition of the millstones in the walls supporting the pond. His inspiration was inexhaustable, so that in the end, many of his plans were never executed at all. Lucien en Suzanne De Gheus Druant moved into their house in August 1962 and stayed there until their death. The “Gheuzenhol, (De Gheus’hole), as the artist called his home, exudes his soul in every corner and keeps fascinating the visitor upto this day.