Painter and enfant terrible of Gent, whose work is driven by passion, eroticism and aggression.
Initially studies architecture and later portraiture, but leaves the academy of Gent. To start with he works intuitively and at great speed.
In the television programme Tienerklanken (Teenage Sounds) of the former BRT channel, De Bruyne is portrayed as an angry young man who rants against bailiffs and state police (who threaten with legal proceedings after he paints a life model in the presence of his children), and against doctors who speak of clients instead of patients.
He is for sexual freedom and against money (when he has it), ‘against academies which should be destroyed, against abstract and figurative art’. In answer to the question ‘Are you a pacifist?’ the painter answers ‘I don’t know the word’, after which De Bruyne makes a drawing on fur of a live sheep, out on the pavement of a shopping street.
With a painting like De Kindervrienden (The Children’s’ Friends) De Bruyne shows himself as a social seismograph: five ‘powers of the earth’ (prelates, politicians, businessmen) maltreat naked children atop a luxuriously laid table.
The painter exhibits works he made in Italy and New York at the Dhondt-Dhaenens Museum (Deurle), namely the portraits of the American writer and poet Charles Bukowski and portraits of himself with his wife. They live as bohemians at Chelsea Hotel.
In the autumn De Bruyne gets cancer. His wife Octavia takes care of him. ‘He fought until the end. He had arranged everything to ask for euthanasia, which was still illegal then, but when the time came he wanted to live until the end after all’.