Neel Doff

Neel Doff

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Neel Doff

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Cornelia Hubertina (Neel) Doff (Buggenum, Netherlands, 27 January 1858 – Ixelles, Belgium, 14 July 1942) was an author of Dutch origin living and working in Belgium and mainly writing in French. She is one of the most important contributors to proletarian literature.


Third born to a family of nine, Cornelia accompanied her family on its perennial successive moves (Amsterdam, Antwerp, Brussels) facing a progressively worsening poverty. Determined to fight her way from underneath the rag and tether class she started modeling for a large number of renowned Belgian painters (James Ensor, Félicien Rops) and to a lesser extent sculptors (Charles Samuel, Paul de Vigne). She posed as Charles de Coster's character Nele by Charles Samuel (Monument Charles de Coster, Place Flagey Ixelles) and for Paul de Vigne, The Little Dutch Girl (Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium) ( Koninklijke Musea voor Schone Kunsten van België; Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, and highly probably for the identical Metdepenningen (Ghent cemetery and Ben Cable Monuments ).

In these artistic circles she met Fernand Brouez (1860–1900) whom she eventually married. Son of Jules Brouez, a rich notary and Victorine Sapin, Fernand Brouez financed and edited La Société Nouvelle, at that time considered the most valuable socialist economical magazine in the French language.

After Brouez's death she married Georges Serigiers, a prominent lawyer from Antwerp and family friend of the Brouez...
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