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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Leon Van Loo

Other: L. Van Loo 
Dates:  1841, 19 August - 1907, 10 January
Born:  Belgium, Sint-Joris-ten-Distel
Died:  US, OH, CIncinnati
Active:  US
Photographer, portrait painter, art collector - Born Sint-Joris-ten-Distel, Belgium, August 19, 1841. Active in Cincinnati from 1857 until retiring in 1866. Raised in Italy and Brazil, he attended college in Ghent, where he studied photography under Charles Waldack. Following Waldack to Cincinnati, he opened a gallery in 1858 at 32½ West Third Street.
At the close of the Civil War, with the backing of Belgian connections, he amassed a modest fortune trading in Southern cotton. In the 1870s he traveled annually to Europe where he collected Flemish, Dutch, and German paintings, antiques, and furniture.
He won medals for colored photographic portraits at the Industrial Expositions of 1870 and 1871. In 1875 he introduced a new kind of photography he called "ideal." These images were printed on zinc oxide applied to blackened sheet-iron and presented a pearly, transparent surface.
After retirement Van Loo loaned his art collection to the 1888 Cincinnati Industrial Exposition. In 1890 he was a founding member of the Cincinnati Art Club and served as its president from 1894-96. In the early 1900s he served on the Board of Trustees of the Cincinnati Art Museum.
He died in Cincinnati, January 10, 1907, leaving an unusual will which bequeathed:
"To the Cincinnati Art Club the sum of $250 to pay for a dinner to be given in the club-room, as soon as practicable after my death, to the members of the Club. If there is such a thing as the spirit of the dead returning to earth (which I do not believe), I shall be with the boys on that festive occasion." A sumptuous dinner was served, October 26, 1907, to 150 invited guests, but to no one‘s great surprise, the host failed to put in an appearance.
Cincinnati Commercial Tribune, Jan 15/30, 1907
Haverstock, Sayre et al, Artists in Ohio 1787-1900 (2000)
Birth details provided by Hubert Bovens (pers. Email, 11 June 2021)
Sint-Joris-ten-Distel, 1841, birth certificate nr.59, Léo Petrus Julius
VAN LOO °19-08-1841
father: Petrus franciscus Desiderius VAN LOO °Ghent
mother: Rosalia Adelaïs VAN HOOFF °Ghent
FOMU, Directory of Belgian Photographers, Van Loo, Leon
(Accessed: 15 June 2021) 
Stereographs project 
Business locations 
Cincinnati, OH, US 
[6-7] Single view seen, man posed in uniform on horseback. 
T.K. Treadwell & William C. Darrah (Compiled by), Wolfgang, Sell (Updated by), 11/28/2003, Photographers of the United States of America, (National Stereoscopic Association)
Credit: National Stereoscopic Association with corrections and additions by Alan Griffiths and others.
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Leon Van Loo
Leon Van Loo 
1897-1907 (ca)
Family history 
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