The Dog Museum
Born in a huntsmen family
My grand father, Jean Cruse, was a huntsman in Bordeaux, SW of France. He was hunting roe deer and his kennel with his 140 hunting hounds was 300 meters away from my home. So I did not choose, I was born a hunter. At the age of 4, I was riding a poney and very soon, I went hunting with him through the wide forest of the SW of France. Jean Cruse has been one of the initiator of the french "hunting hounds Club", the french huntsmen club.

This charcoal portrait of a huntsman, drawn by Xavier de Porets shows my grandfather, with his hunting hounds in front of our family home, Le Chateau du Taillan, a famous Bordeaux vinyard.

When I was 16, a belgium young lady came hunting with us for a few days. Her family were famous belgium huntsmen and had large forests in Belgium and France. She was really beautiful, cheerful and a very elegant rider. I remind my grandfather insisting A lot on the fact that she could be a good bride for me. I was too young to think wedding ! But it was not a bad idea... she is still beautiful, cheerful and rather wealthy .

Years later, we met again... and Evelyne opened for me the doors of the belgium aristocraty. Thanks, Evelyn !
Rallye Vielsalm
A few lifes later, as I was 43 years old, I exhibited for the first time in the Chambord's castle "game-fair". During that event, all the french and belgium huntsmen use to have their annual congress in the castle. I was sharing my stand with a famous hunting master, Pierre Borione, and many hunters and huntsmen were coming to visit him. One of them was an elegant lady. When Pierre introduced me to her, I recognised Evelyne and we fell in each other's arms. She was now the Rallye Vielsalm's Master. Admiring my blooming talent, she gave me a commission to paint her hunting hounds.

6 monthes later, I drove north to meet the belgium hunters during one of their hunting party. We were in march and the sun was shining. A great day to take photos. Evelyn, her master and the ladies were wearing blue coats with red cuffs, while the other huntsmen had inverted colors. The golden buttons and copper (french) hunting horns were dazzling in the sunshine, It was wonderful. All these belgium hunters were laughing all the time. During the meeting before the start, I took photos of each one of them, while they were laughing.
Evelyn is on the left and her master on the right.

A year later, as I was invited to come back, I painted a whole collection of portraits from these photos, where each hunter was laughing. I had a great success and got commissions to paint again the portraits where they were two persons, because each one of them wanted it.
This painting on the left is the only one I did not sell. Everyone recognised these persons and found it was very interesting to show them backside. You have Evelyne's mother on the left, her cousin, her husband and her daughter on the right. A fun family's portrait, is not it ? But noone bought it. So month after month, I was more and more angry against this painting.
I was in this mood, when the President of the french "Hunting Society" came at my home to visit the rising artist in his workshop. As we were in my drawing room, he suddenly saw my grandfather's portrait. "Why do you have this portrait of Jean Cruse on your walls", did he ask me. He then told me with a voice touched with emotion, the munificent way he had been received by my grandfather 30 years earlier. After that, he wrote a wonderful article about my paintings in the very smart, french huntsmen 's magazine, called "Venerie".

 

Philippe Dulac, the President of the "french Huntsmen Club", to illustrate his article, chose this painting of a pack of hounds ( I will show it enlarged in the next page, with comments and details. ) ... but he decided to print Evelyne 's family portrait on the cover. Too bad ! It was rather far of my usual subjects, dogs and hounds. On the other side, it was such an unusual hunting scene, that the readers wrote a lot of angry letters to the magazine about this cover. Perfect !! People were speaking of me, bad or good, but they were speaking of me, at least !!

and they reminded my name !

On the right, one of the hounds I painted for Evelyne.
I also drew graphite sketches that you saw or will see in the "drawing gallery"


On the right, is the subject of the next page,
click on the picture
the watercolor painting of a pack of hounds,