Born in Brussels in 1930 Jean Antoine died on May 12, 2016 in Paris.
He was the husband of Evelyne Axell and a pioneer of Belgian Television.
Trained in theater, passionate about literature and poetry, he studied at the Sorbonne in Paris and participated in some of the first televised plays for French television. Back in Brussels, Jean Antoine entered the INR (ancestor of the RTBF), where on November 11, 1953 he directed the first televised play on the national channel. He participated in the creation and development of the cultural sector on TV introducing viewers to the arts with shows and portraits dedicated to the greatest contemporary artists, especially painters, sculptors and writers such as Duchamp, Botero, Alechinsky, Magritte, Alberto Moravia, Hugo Claus, Warhol, Roland Topor, Simenon, Roy Lichtenstein, Paul Delvaux, De Chirico, Senghor, and many others.
In 1956 he met Evelyne Axell, an actress at the time. They married in December of the same year. In June 1957 their son Philippe was born.
His series on art and literature, “Metamorphoses”, will be crucial to the artistic career of Evelyne Axell. She had just started painting under the supervision of René Magritte, a friend of the Antoine family. In 1964 Jean Antoine made three films about the new artistic movements that were Pop Art and Figuration Narrative; “L’école de New York “,” L’aventure de l’objet”and especially” Dieu est-il Pop? “. It was during the production of this film in London, where Evelyne Axell was present, that she met all the great figures of English Pop Art who will have a major influence on the evolution of her work.
In 1966 Jean Antoine embarks on major documentary series, especially the series “The Soviets” conducted in the USSR at the time of the Cold War. One of the episodes is devoted to Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman cosmonaut, who inspired Evelyne Axell’s painting “Valentine”, now exhibited in the permanent collections of Tate Modern in London.
After the death of Evelyne Axell, Jean Antoine married Mali Funakoshi, the daughter of a famous Japanese artist and developed a passion for Japanese culture and art. Jean Antoine is also a precursor of the docu-fiction, like in his series “L’Europe de la Toison d’Or” in which he mixes reenactments in costumes and documentary footage. He also continues films on art with the “Styles” series.
From 1995 he devoted himself mainly to the recognition of the work of his first wife Evelyne Axell, forgotten for over 20 years. One of his last films “Les années Pop Art, 1964-1968” is an evocation of the 60s where Evelyne Axell finally features alongside the “popes” of Pop.