life and work

Koenraad Tinel (Ghent, 1934) is a sculptor and drawer. He started drawing and playing the piano while very young. In 1944 his parents fled to Germany with him and his sister, on an odyssey through the rubble of Europe that is ineradicably carved into his memory. Although he was a talented pianist, the young Koenraad wanted to be an artist. He studied sculpture at La Cambre Higher Institute of Visual Art in Brussels. In 1956, after graduating, he went on a six-month study trip to Central India in a Citroen 2CV. He worked for a time as a scientific illustrator in the Entomology Department of the Royal Institute of Natural Sciences in Brussels. He designed and made metal furniture and plinths for works of art for several museums and other major clients in Europe. He and his family moved into a square Brabant farmstead in Gooik (Pajottenland), where he started up a bronze foundry for his own work. In 1971 he stopped doing forge work and dedicated himself entirely to sculpture and drawing.

© Koenraad Tinel

At the same time he was given charge over the sculpture department at St Luke’s College in Brussels (1972-1999), now the LUCA School of Arts. Koenraad Tinel works mainly in metal and mixed media. His sculptures are striking for their direct expressiveness and great emotional intensity. In 2000 the Flemish Community organised an open-air exhibition entitled ‘BRGL’ that presented monumental works in the castle grounds at Groenenberg (Gaasbeek).

Over the years he has illustrated dozens of myths, fairytales and primal stories of mankind in unparalleled ink drawings. Apart from this he has made prints for stories and poems by such authors as Isaac babel, Rainer Maria Rilke, Paul Celan and Isaac Bashevis Singer. He aroused general admiration with the drawings of his memories of war and childhood in Scheisseimer (2009) and Flandria Catholica (2010). These compelling works led to several exhibitions and a successful theatre tour in both national languages. The VRT documentary War Children (2012) and the book Liberated at Last (2013) on his friendship with Simon Gronowski added a new dimension to all this, one that did not go unnoticed. In his Stories of Pajottenland (2013), his virtuoso drawing skills became more widely known to a broader readership in the Dutch language region. He has on several occasions collaborated with musician, theatre-maker and writer friends, sometimes appearing live on stage to draw or perform. Since 1996 Koenraad Tinel has lived and worked in the old Leysbroek castle farmstead in Vollezele (Pajottenland) on the rim of the Dender-Mark Tranquillity Area.


Leysbroek Repingestraat 91 B-1570 Vollezele +32 (0)479 67 13 67