Contact with Asia

As a child, Louis was already very much interested in drawing and painting, expanding later to stained glass art.

He had always dreamt to travel to China, but later became more focused on Japan. In 1957 he embarked for Himeji, Japan, as a missionary of Scheut. He started studying Japanese and tried to evolve as much as possible in drawing, painting and moulding, both in Japan and Europe.

At university, he was the first European to attain a master in Eastern philosophy. This enabled him to deepen his knowledge of Japanese and Chinese culture, history, arts and literature.

We can find his first works in various churches and monasteries in Japan. In 1964, he temporarily returned to Europe and studied ceramics and stained glass art at the Antwerp academy.

In 1965, he founded the arts academy IKO in Hoogstraten, for children and adults. He returned to Japan in 1966 and little by little it became clear to him that the time had come to transcend “the Western way of thinking”. He aspired to start making monumental art and made contacts with various artists, amongst others also from Mexico.

Meeting with Taki

In 1971 he met Hisao Taki, then director of the Japan traffic cultural association. He engaged Louis and this made it possible to create the monumental art for public spaces which he had been dreaming of. In 1977, they together founded the Modern Mural Art Institute. As director of the institute, this enabled Louis to manage his own and other artists’ creations.

Louis felt liberated after his disaffiliation and later married Michiyo Ogata, who always strongly supported him in his endeavors.

His vision on monumental art

Louis, about his work:

“I want, in my modest place in Japanese society, to liberate art from the museums and to bring it back to the people. To that end I need sponsors whom I consider to be contributors and friends. Together we make sure that, taking from the Japanese, our horizontal balance is in order.” (from “Subliem en bijna niets. Japanese diary”. Frans Boenders, p.136)

Timeline

1928:               Born in Beerse on October 10

1940-1947:      Secondary studies

1947-1953:      Philosophy and theology in Mechelen

1953-1955:      Teacher

1955-1957:      Studies in Scheut

1957:               Departure to Japan

1957-1960:      Study of the Japanese language

1960-1964:      Yokyo, Keio University, lic. Eastern Philosophy

1965:               Foundation of IKO in Hoogstraten

Internship at Atelier Brabant-Tilburg (stained glass art)

1966-1970:      Tokyo, University Fine Arts, Post Graduate Course, Master of Arts

1970 :              Professor in Junshin Junior College Fine Arts in Tokyo

1971 :              Lector at Tokyo University of Fine Arts (Stained Glass)

1972:               Study trip naar Mexico

1973:               2nd study trip to Mexico (Aztec and Mayan culture)

1974:               3rd study trip to Mexico  (Inca culture)

1978:               Advisor at Japan Trafic Culture Association

Foundation Modern Mural Arts Institute with Hisao Taki

1980:               Establishment ceramics atelier in Shigaraki, near Kyoto

1981:               Establishment stained glass atelier in Yugawara

1983:               Panel discussions about art and architecture with Ludwig Schaffrath

1985:               Placement ceramic relief and stained glass windows at VTI                                                Hotelschool Spijker in Hoogstraten

1986:               Lectures on stained glass art in Tama Art University.

1990:               Japanse citizenship

1992:               Guest professor at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts

2006:               Professor emeritus of the Okinawa Prefectural University of Arts

2010:               Passes away on April 26

Selection from his  monumental work

1957-1964:      Interior decorations in the churches of Scheut a.o. Way of the Cross in Osaka

1966:               Stained glass window in Sakai church

1968:               Himeji, mural ceramics and stained glass window

1971:               Way of the Cross in ceramics in Tokyo

1974:               Mural ceramics in Kobe station

1974-78:          Oil paintings

1975:               Mural ceramics in Tamachi station Tokyo

1976:               Stained glass in Shinbasi station

1977:               Mural ceramics in Kyoto

1978:               Stained glass and mural ceramics in Tokyo

1978:               Monument St-Xaverius in Kagoshima

1980-1984:      Dozens of stained glass windows and ceramics in Japan

1985:               Stained glass windows and mural ceramics in VTI &Hotelschool                                 Spijker in Hoogstraten

1987:               A song of life and water, stained glass

1988:               Eternity, stained glass

1990:               Four seasons, stained glass, Atami

2000:               Spring and autumn, stained glass Shirokane

2004:               Mr.Fuji, Chubi International Airport

2010:               Ibaraki Memories, stained glass, Ibaraki Airport

(This is only a limited selection from the more than 125 stained glass works and mural ceramics that Louis Fransen produced. Paintings, watercolours and drawings are not included in this selection)