'De opwindende lotgevallen van Carlo Guzzi' (KZV #14, 1951).

Gustaaf "Staf" De Bruyne was a Belgian graphic artist and figurative painter, known for his pessimistic paintings and etchings about mankind's self-destruction. During the 1940s and 1950s, he also made illustrations for books and magazines. For the weekly Kleine Zondagsvriend, he illustrated Leopold Vermeiren's 'Rode Ridder' stories, as well as a couple of comic serials, in the period 1946-1956.

Early life and education
Gustaaf Christiaan De Bruyne was born in 1914 in Mechelen. During his career, he was also referred to as Staf De Bruyne, or as Cris, an abbreviation of his second name. He got his artistic education at the Academy of Mechelen and at the Higher Institute of Antwerp, where the modernist painter Gustave Van De Woestyne and the etcher Jules De Bruycker were among his teachers.

De Bruyne became a noted painter, who made figurative work, compositions with nudes, portraits and landscapes. De Bruyne was also known for his meticulous copper engravings, made with a burin. Starting his career with realistic works, during World War II he evolved into a so-called "symbolist-pessimistic" style. After the war, his works became very surrealistic. Mankind's blindness for its own self-destruction and the end of times were regular themes, as were social subjects like harbor life and poverty.

'Rode Ridder' serial, illustrated by "Cris" in KZV of 22 June 1950.

Between 1943 and 1947, De Bruyne made book illustrations for publishers like Desclée in Bruges, Excelsior in Antwerp, Kinhoren in Brussels, Davidsfonds in Leuven and Lannoo in Tielt. Between 1946 and 1956, he illustrated many text serials in magazine Kleine Zondagsvriend (KZV), including the first 'Rode Ridder' ("Red Knight") stories by Leopold Vermeiren. The subsequent book collection had drawings by Karel Verschuere. In 1959, Verschuere and Willy Vandersteen launched a popular comic book series with the medieval character, which runs to this day. In KZV, De Bruyne also illustrated the historical comic serial 'De Sterke Arm' (1946-1947) and the one-shot 'De Opwindende Avonturen van Carlo Guzzi' (1951).

From 1946 on, Staf De Bruyne was a teacher at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. He has been a mentor to sculptor Georges Staes, illustrator/painter Tonet Timmermans and the painter Renaat Veris, among many other artists. He was a member of the art circle 't Getij. Gustaaf De Bruyne passed away in Poederlee in 1981. He was 67 years old.

'Carlo Guzzi' cover illustration for KZV #14, 1951.

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