Victor De Pauw Biography

Victor De Pauw





Victor De Pauw was ­­­­born in Belgium on January 20, 1902. When he was six years old, Victor's family emigrated British Columbia, Canada. In 1919, after service in “The Great War” as a Canadian minesweeper, Victor enrolled in the California School of Fine Arts, to follow his dream of being an artist, living in San Francisco with his mother Anna. In 1922, he won a scholarship at the Art Students League enabling him to go to the Mecca of American art...New York City.

De Pauw attended the renowned Art Students League in New York. De Pauw associated with many of  the premier actors and playwrights of theatre’s heyday, and his passion for depicting the stage personages became a means of support.

His caricatures of prominent actors and actresses included Helen Hayes, Ethel Barrymore, Catherine Cornell, Clark Gable, James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson. Playwrights and critics were also the subjects of De Pauw's artistic attention: Robert Sherwood, Eugene O'Neil, George Kaufman, Alexander Woolcott, and Heywood Broun among others.

In 1924 Victor married Hazel Harvey. When she met Victor she had been one of the first nurses graduated from Columbia University. The partnership lasted for 47 years with Hazel working many years as a nurse at Barnard to keep the family together.

De Pauw's first one-man show of paintings was held in 1935 at the Leonard Clayton Gallery on 57th street. Many others, including exhibitions of humor in art, abstraction and his depictions of the west, followed this show at intervals. Reviewing De Pauw’s 1956 one-man show, Stewart Preston of the New York Times observed, “He practices no one style, moving easily from naturalism in his studies of grasshoppers to fanciful, and even grotesque impersonations in his abstract figures.” 

De Pauw was also a deeply spiritual man and devoted to the practice of Christian Science. He suffered a debilitating stroke in 1961, and despite the dire prognosis of doctors, continued to live and work for another 11 years, eschewing modern medicines. His painful recovery can be seen in many of his darker abstractions.

Victor De Pauw worked until his death of a stroke in March of 1971 on Long Island in East Hampton, New York where he had lived for many years.