Biography: Dr. Marjan Sterckx
A professor of 19th-century art at Ghent University, Dr. Marjan Sterckx received a grant to assist her research on the designs of Belgian sculptor Yvonne Serruys (1873–1953). Between about 1905 and 1910, Serruys designed models for more than 300 objects to be made in pâte de verre and blown glass by the factory of Georges Despret (1862–1952) in Jeumont, France. Despret was a pioneer of the pâte de verre technique, which was used for both decorative and functional objects.
Sterckx says she discovered this intriguing, but little-known, aspect of Serruys’s work while she was writing her master’s thesis on the artist. Most of the art objects she has found that are signed or stamped by Serruys and Despret are vases and plates that reflect the influence of Art Nouveau and japonisme. Sterckx expected her research to “lead to new knowledge and insights…on the collaboration of artists/sculptors and glass factories, and on the fashion for glass-paste objects during the belle époque.”
Sterckx’s dissertation on female sculptors in Paris, London and Brussels from 1770 to 1953 was awarded the 2009 Prize for Human Sciences by the Academische Stichting Leuven in Belgium. She received her Ph.D. in art history from Leuven University. Following her postdoctoral work at that university, she was a lecturer in art history and has been a professor at Ghent University since October 2009.