Paul Mathieu was born in the town of Sint Joost ten Node, Belgium in 1872. As a young man he enrolled at the local art school before progressing to the Academy of Schaarbeck. Here he honed his skills as an artist and first became familiar with the work of the Impressionists. To further his education he moved to Brussels where he took lessons from the painter Josephine Meyer. By the early 1890’s, his schooling completed, he commenced exhibiting his paintings as a professional artist. His early works, for the most part, showed scenes of the Campine area of Belgium. These paintings were painted with a muted palette utilizing many autumnal tones. In 1898 he helped found the important art group ‘Le Sillon’ which was to change the face of Belgian art for a generation.
By the mid 1910’s Paul Mathieu’s paintings had changed. Gone were the soft muted tones and the cool light and in were his vibrant, almost Fauvist, colors with the accompanying warm yellow sunlight. It is these later paintings that one normally associates with Mathieu and the work that garners the most critical praise.
Paintings by Mathieu are housed in numerous collections both public and private including the museums of Bruges, Brussels, Liege, Kortrijk and Charlier.