Tag Archives: John Van Looveren

Bob De Moor’s drawing of his baby nephew Ludo Van Looveren

On May 7 1944, whilst Antwerp (and the rest of Belgium) were still under German occupation, John Van Looveren became a father of a boy, Ludo. John was Bob De Moor‘s brother-in-law and married to Bob’s sister Alice De Moor. Both John and Bob were very close around that time. Bob had for instance illustrated a story by John a year earlier relating the story of John and his friend Edmond Claes trying to flee (in vain) for the German invaders.

When the then 18-year old Bob visited the freshly born Ludo Van Looveren, he made the following drawing of baby Ludo. You see the very young Ludo (probably just a few days or weeks old) sleeping in his bed whilst enjoying his dummy. Bob De Moor signed as ‘R. De Moor’ and added ‘1944’. The paper the pencil drawing was made on has coloured over the years and judging on some marks has also been thumbtacked to a wall or on a cabinet for quite some time. The colouring on the border furthermore shows it was framed (and coloured by the light) later on before it ended up in Ludo’s own archives where he has kept it away from any further light damage.

Bob De Moor portret ludo van looveren 1944

It’s the first time that this drawing has been published and it depicts a Bob De Moor who is mastering his sketching more and more. Compare it with this drawing made 3 years earlier and you can recognise that De Moor has evolved quite a bit. A good detail is Ludo’s eye which has been very well drawn and the cheek. A soft stroke and shadows do create a better effect than the harder lines he would have used a few years earlier.

Bob De Moor portret ludo van looveren 1944 detail

Bob De Moor decided to also add some black pencil shadow on top of the grey pencil strokes (in order to put some emphasis we presume), but he stopped halfway through, probably because he saw it was making the drawing too hard.

But what happened to that cute baby? Well, Ludo apparently inherited some of the family De Moor’s genetics plus his father’s sense for imagination as he’d become an interiors architect docent following his graduation in 1968 at the ‘Nationaal Hoger instituut voor bouwkunst en stedenbouw Antwerpen‘ (now known as ‘Henry Van De Velde Instituut‘), a renown school for architecture and actually born out of the arts school Bob De Moor had been going to.

The same year Ludo married Corry De Souter and in 1969 his first son was born, Arik followed by Bram in 1972. By then Ludo had become a docent interior architecture at the ‘Hoger instituut Coloma, Mechelen‘, nowadays known as the ‘Thomas More Hogeschool‘.

In 1974 Ludo Van Looveren developed a shared passion with Bob De Moor when he started building his very own yacht, which would be completed 6 years later in 1980. In 1984 he would even take a sabbatical year to go and sail to Portugal. The sailing virus never left the couple Van Looveren and after retiring in 1999, the family Van Looveren has enjoyed several sailing holidays.

Thanks a lot to Ludo Van Looveren for sawing this drawing!

The windmill by Bob De Moor, 1947

In the past few months we have described several paintings which Bob De Moor painted in 1947 such as the smoking kid, a still life and a winter landscape. Today we show you a watercolour painting which we discovered in the archives of Ludo Van Looveren, a nephew of Bob De Moor, and son of John Van Looveren (Artec Studios). The painting represents a wooden windmill and both the signature (it’s identical to 1947 paintings which had a signature and date added) and colour use put this painting in 1947.

The wooden windmill by Bob De Moor
The wooden windmill by Bob De Moor

Although this is not exactly the best painting which Bob De Moor made, it showcases how the then 22-year old Bob De Moor is testing his craftsmanship. Unlike the winter landscape painting which he carefully completed, this windmill painting looks more like hasty work. You can for instance clearly see the original pencil drawings and a not so meticulous colouring of the whole. However, as a time document this painting certainly has its merits.

In the next days we will also present you yet another painting which a private collector reported to us just a few days ago.

Le grand nettoyage, a 1945 cartoon by Bob De Moor

When World War 2 ends in Europe in 1945 with the German surrender to the Western Allies and the Soviet Union in late April and early May 1945, Bob De Moor was probably among the first ones to celebrate this. For years he had been waiting for the allies to liberate Europe and in the final months he had also been a victim of the retaliation attacks of Nazi-Germany on Antwerp with their doodlebugs (aka V-1 and V-2 – the V stood for ‘Vergeltungswaffe‘ in German, ‘retaliation arm’ in English) in which he lost two fingers and suffered further injuries on his legs. In short, it was time that the war ended.

"Le grand nettoyage" (1945)
“Le grand nettoyage” (1945)

And what better way to celebrate the end of World War 2 than with some cartoons?

Today we present you one of the cartoons he made during that time. The one we see here is called “Le grand nettoyage” (the big cleaning). We found the cartoon in the archives of Ludo Van Looveren and it’s our guess that the title was given by John Van Looveren, the father of Ludo and brother-in-law of Bob De Moor. It’s possible that the cartoon ended up in a french written publication though we can’t tell for sure.

Let’s take a closer look. The cartoon shows a woman cleaning a house, called Europe. She is dressed in the American Stars & Stripes, with a Union Jack scarf and the communists symbols of the hammer and sickle from the Russian flag used on her apron. The 3 countries were part of the alliance against Nazi-Germany. The rubbish that is being swept out of the house includes a machine-gun, a German helmet with bullet holes, a big swastika, several medals with swastikas on, insignias, a broken bayonet or saber, a saber hilt, and a Nazi soldier cap which is also shot to pieces. In short, the trio had been cleansing Europe from the Nazis.

The young Bob De Moor signed the drawing as Bob and also added Copyright R.D.M. (which stands for Robert De Moor, his real name). That copyright is again an indication that the drawing was meant for publication.

Artec Studios’ hidden collaborators: Mon Van Meulenbroeck (part 2)

A few days ago you could read an article on the work Armand “Mon” Van Meulenbroeck did for Artec Studios, the company founded by Bob De Moor and John Van Looveren. Today we present you another comic which has always been attributed to Bob De Moor, but which is not by Bob De Moor at all: Tim & Tom.

Up until today people claim this is Bob De Moor's work.
Up until today people claim this is Bob De Moor’s work.

The page scan we present you today comes from an issue of the 1949 (another source indicates it was published in 1951) edition of the weekly youth journal ‘t Kapoentje. The comic series is called ‘Tim en Tom’ and the story is called “Tim en Tom erven een Kasteel” (“Tim and Tom inherit a Castle”) and this story has always been said to be by Bob De Moor in many publications (with some writers saying that “one can clearly recognize the Hergé-esque influences…” Really?). Weird, because it doesn’t take much time for anyone familiar with the work of Bob De Moor (or drawing as a matter of fact) to raise a few question marks when seeing this page. The style as used in the drawings has close to nothing in common with what Bob De Moor drew around that time. It also showed some very clumsy drawing (shoes, hands, …) which – although Bob De Moor was working at speed tempo around that time – you would not expect from him. But, the story did come from the Artec studios, you can see the Artec Studios signature on the second strip, and that for instance led to the people from Stripofiel claiming that ‘Tim en Tom’ was by Bob De Moor in their issue nr. 8 from 1974. Danny De Laet – who first also attributed the series to Bob De Moor, rectified his judgement in “De Vlaamse Strip Auteurs” (published by De Dageraad in 1982) on page 43 saying that the ‘Tim en Tom’ story was “definitely not by Bob De Moor”.

An almost sure thing is that the drawings were made by a flemish comic author, the use of ‘ge’ (flemish for ‘you’) was never used in the Netherlands for instance. It’s also seems to be a one-off story which was published in both KZV and in t’ Kapoentje, but which seems to have been interrupted only to be continued in Het Wekelijkse Nieuws. So it doesn’t seem like it that the editorial staff of ‘t Kapoentje were all that happy about the result of the work.

But who was the artist then behind this ‘Tim en Tom’ then? John Van Looveren possibly was the storyteller (he did love the castle theme a lot), but who made the graphics? Armand “Mon” Van Meulenbroeck comes to mind (again), after all, he was the only comic artist ever to be paid by Artec Studios next to Bob De Moor. Compare the first case in the unfinished drawing in this article with the second case in the first strip of today’s scan and you will see a few similarities. But as a whole, it’s a mixed bag of influences; you’ll will recognize a Willy Vandersteen touch (see the postman) next to a not so well executed Hergé imitation.

If you ask us, Bob De Moor didn’t provide rough sketches for this series like he did for the cartoon series we talked about. The series is far from being a graphic chef d’oeuvre, but as a historical document it serves its purpose rather well. After all, the few years that the Artec Studios were active, represented a very important milestone in the history of the flemish comic scene, whether it was Bob De Moor or not making the drawings.

Artec Studios’ hidden collaborators: Mon Van Meulenbroeck (part 1)

The Artec Studios were founded in order to sell Bob De Moor‘s comics with or without scenarios by John Van Looveren and this to a rather huge number of publications. However, some of these drawings were not (completely) by Bob De Moor. Due to the enormous work that Van Looveren contracted, several people started helping out. Today we present you such drawing which was completed by Armand “Mon” Van Meulenbroeck but which has been on the market as being a Bob De Moor drawing, just like several others.

The inked cartoon, signed AVM.
The inked cartoon, signed AVM.

Mon Van Meulenbroeck was an early friend of Bob De Moor and he was just like his friend Bob De Moor forced to work at the German Erla factory (see also our article on this 1944 painting by Bob De Moor where we talk about the Erla factory). That friendship led to Mon Van Meulenbroeck being asked to join the Artec Studios team to help with Bob De Moor‘s growing output.

The cartoon we present you today was signed by AVM which stands for Armand Van Meulenbroeck and dates from 1947/1948. It’s unclear whether Bob De Moor delivered him penciled indications, but there are indications to believe he did (De Moor literally said in an interview in the 70s that he did offer quickly penciled sketches and indications after which ‘a friend’ completed the final drawings). This procedure was also suggested in Ronald Grossey‘s biography of Bob De Moor. Sure thing is that Van Meulenbroeck tried to make his work in the spirit of De Moor’s including the same inking style which is similar to that of Bob De Moor. The gag is called “Hoger en Hoger!” (Higher and Higher).

The uncompleted almost completely erased penciled cartoon on the back.
The uncompleted almost completely erased penciled cartoon on the back.

But the ‘clumsy’ way Van Meulenbroeck drew the feet/shoes is a good indication that this is clearly not Bob De Moor at work. If you compare similar work (the shoes for instance, the postures, …) by Bob De Moor around that time you will clearly spot the difference (read the Brabantia Nostra books to spot it). The cartoon itself here shows a kid walking on stilts and apparently standing so high that he gets picked up by a low flying plane. Surprisingly enough, the back of the drawing revealed an almost completely erased cartoon. This incomplete cartoon included a joke about a tram which the leading figure is taking. Again you can notice the typical ‘wrong’ shoes by Van Meulenbroeck in the first frame.

Tomorrow we’ll show you another drawing which has been considered a Bob De Moor one by many, although it’s clear from the first frame that this is not Bob De Moor at work, at all.

The Artec Studios years have not been well documented over the years, making it very difficult to know who did what. In a document which Danny De Laet wrote in 1979 it’s said that Artec Studios also employed the Woodpeckers brothers Jef and François “Cois” Cassiers but the bookkeeping from Artec Studios only revealed payments to Mon Van Meulenbroeck.  which means that either the brothers Cassiers did everything for free or that they have never worked for Artec Studios at all.

Special thanks to Olivier Marin (“Les déesses de la route”, “Le mystère de la traction 22”, …) for letting us dig in his archives and Ronald Grossey for his feedback.