Pierre Courtens was born in Saint-Josse-ten-Node in 1921 and came from an artistic family: his father, Herman, was a flower and landscape artist, his uncle Alfred was a sculptor and his grandfather, Franz, was a landscape painter.
He trained initially with his father but left in1937 to work at the studio of Jacques Maes at l’Académie de Saint-Josse-ten-Node where his professor was Jacques Maes. He was also a pupil of the major painter Anto Carte at L’Académie d’Art Decoratif Monumental and then at L’Académie d’Art Decoratif Royale d’Anvers where he particularly studied engraving techniques.
He made a number of journeys to Holland and France and by 1946, aged twenty-five, he had established himself in Paris living in the Montparnasse quarter where he was near neighbours of Oscar Dominguez, Mane Katz and Ossip Zadkine. He developed professional relationships with Antonin Artaud and the important painter Jacques Vilon which furthered his development as an artist. They also, apart from giving him a grounded classical training, encouraged him to express himself and to expand his personal style of painting whereby he composed his paintings into compartments with overlapping sections. These compartments were delineated with sinuous lines and the subjects were deconstructed into unreal, vibrantly coloured sections which imbues in them a sense of almost raw brutality.
Courtens exhibited first in 1947 with his brother Jacques at l’Affiche Publicitaires en Holland and again in that year in Paris first at La Galérie Pierre Maurs, then at the Salons of Les Réalités Nouvelles, Les Indépendants in 1948 and Les Surindépendants. He also showed at L’École de Paris and Galerie Charpentier as well as being part of larger group exhibitions such as Viage Présents in Knocke le Zoute in Belgium in 1951.
In 1948 he contributed to exhibitions at le Salon des Moins de Trente Ans in Paris and then in Brussels at Le Palais des Beaux-Arts. 1949 saw him showing again in Paris at Le Salon des Indépendants.
He later staged one-man shows in Paris, in particular at the premises of Camille Renault, New York and Beirut in 1957.
Arto Dictionnaire Biographique Arts Plastiques en Belgique
Dictionnaire des Artistes Plasticiens de Belgique des XIXe et
XXe Siecles - Paul Piron
Dictionnaire des Peintres – E Benezit