Who Wants to be a Diplomat When You Can Charm the Art World?

Read about Belgian artist Harold Ancart’s early career. Find out how the artist initially has aspirations of becoming a diplomat, and very nearly did not pursue a career in art.

Harold Ancart’s Career is Taking Off

Belgian artist Harold Ancart is living proof that persevering in your art can eventually pay off. His solo show at David Zwirner in London recently named ‘Freeze’, was fascinating in how his distinctly graphic work steps effortlessly between two-dimensional and three-dimensional worlds.

Inspired by comics

A voracious sketch artist and comic reader throughout high school, Ancart used his pastimes to escape boredom. In a city where comic strips are widely enjoyed, the artist was in his element. His tastes evolved from Hergé (creator of Tintin) and Peyo (creator of the Smurfs) to elitist comic creators like Yves Swolfs and Jean Van Hamme, and eventually included figurative artists like Egon Schiele and Frank Auerbach.

No cheap red wine and breadcrumbs for Ancart

But despite his ardent interest in it, Ancart did not see himself with a future in professional art. He associated the trade with poverty, and decided to study political science instead – his goal was to pursue a career as a diplomat. The artist confessed that ‘it did not work out at all’. Finally, (thank goodness!) he decided to embrace his true calling and enrolled at École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Visuel de la Cambre, with a degree in fine arts as his new objective. And this was only the start.

Harold Ancart - Freeze

Entering the fold

In the next few years, Ancart became CLEARING’s first artist. We all know how highly this gallery is now regarded in Brussels. After this achievement, the artist took his aspirations abroad to New York City where his career started steadily blossoming. This was followed by an ambitious but epic trip across America in a mobile studio made out of his jeep’s trunk. Ancart’s next big artistic win was ‘There Is No There There’, his first major show in the US at the Menil Drawing Institute in Houston. Later that year, he shattered his records with a triptych fetching a whopping US$751,500 at Christies’s New York. Even though he nearly missed take-off, Ancart’s art career was on an upward trajectory leading him to a prestigious spot with David Zwirner.

For more information about ‘Freeze” go here

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