William Degouve de Nuncques (1867- 1935) was born in Monthermé, in eastern France. His parents, descendants of an old aristocratic family, settled in Belgium after the Franco-Prussian war, where he taught himself to paint and married a fellow artist Juliette Massin. She was the sister-in-law of the Belgian Symbolist poet Emile Verhaeren, and it was this introduction to the circle of Symbolist poets that influenced his artistic style.
Degouve shared a studio in Paris with the Dutch Symbolist painter Jan Toorop; both were members of Les XX, an avant garde group of Belgian painters, designers and sculptors. He was also encouraged by the sculptor Auguste Rodin and the French artists Pierre Puvis de Chavannes and Maurice Denis.
His paintings have a highly private quality of invention and represent places of mystery, where unexpected adventures may suddenly occur. He remained true to the imaginative intensity of his youth and continued to produce works with Symbolist themes into the Twentieth century.