THE MASTER AT WORK
Gustave Nouel is one of the world’s brightest artistic talents. A native of Aruba and resident of the Netherlands, his works have been used to help bridge the gap between Dutch territories in the Caribbean and the European continent.
When we think of art in the 21st century, our minds tend to drift back to the artistic greats from past centuries. In so doing, we inadvertently ignore the talents and contributions to society from modern artists. Gustave Nouel is described by many artistic observers and critics as a modern virtuoso who has produced some of the most well-respected art collections in the world today. His work has been featured in over 200 international expositions, some of which were one-man shows that included only his works.
Gustave Nouel is a native of the Caribbean nation of Aruba. The nation was once part of the Netherlands Antilles, and today is one of the four constituent countries in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The other nations that form the kingdom include Netherlands, Curacao, and Sint Maarten. Who is Gustave the individual? What are some of his famous works? Most importantly, where does he draw his inspiration from?
Growing up in Dutch-controlled Aruba, Gustave was a young man with talent that was evident from the beginning. According to the Nouel, himself, artistic talent runs in the family. His uncle (on his mother’s side) is Padú del Caribe, an Aruban musician and songwriter who is affectionately known as the “Father of the Caribbean.” His real name is Juan Chabaya Lampe, and his most notable work is the waltz “Aruba Dushi Tera,” a song which now serves as the national anthem for Aruba.
Talent exists on his father’s side of the family as well. Writer, lawyer, and politician Cola Debrot is a distant relative of Gustave’s father. He was born in Kralendijk in Bonaire before moving to Curacao at the age of 2. His family eventually sent him to the Netherlands at the age of 14 for educational reasons, where he eventually started a literary career. Following World War II, he returned to Curacao and laid the foundations for Dutch-Antillean literature with his works.
Thanks to his own natural gifts and inherited genes, Gustave was viewed as “exceptionally talented” by his teachers at a young age. He received encouragement in his artistic endeavours from the Aruban government. The Dutch Art Academy even described him as “possessing extraordinary artistic talent.” As a result, he was awarded an exceptional grant from the Central Government of the Netherlands Antilles that allowed him to pursue post-university art studies in Madrid, Spain.