Huklenbrok and Evenepoel’s Exhibition was a success. They had ambitions of finally entering into a new progression of artist independence. Finally they would be able to support themselves financially through their work.
Evenepoel felt ill in late November. He entered a nursing home on 8 December and was diagnosed with typhoid fever. His condition worsened and in a matter of weeks he was deteriorated. He died on the 27th December. The news truly devastated Huklenbrok and Matisse.
Matisse too had fallen into his own depression due to the circumstances of his divorce, and kept a very low profile in Paris.
Henri’s father Joseph would lecture his son, coaxing back to join his family and lead a righteous life of good work provided by his father. Clearly Joseph wanted Henri to settle down and start a family of his own.
Henri Huklenbrok, wanting to escape the chaos of his undetermined future path, would seek escape in tranquil environments in Germany and France.
He sought recluse in ter Wurm, a small German village, with a nearby forest where one would go for respite and recovery of health.
The time, he headed for La Bouille, a small village surrounded by woodland situated south of the river Seine, some 11 miles (18 km) southwest of Rouen.
It was at this time, he experienced a full mental breakdown. It is unclear if there was a catalyst, but it seems that the bottom dropped out of Henri’s life through anxiety.
He fled into the woods surrounding La Bouille and was be found by his father and uncle the following day. He was taken back home to Brussels to recover from his breakdown.
Henri’s father Joseph did come to the rescue of his son. He attempted to bring Henri back on the straight narrow path, entering his father’s business.
In 1900 Henri was introduced to Milly Margreitter, the daughter of a director of the Belgian factory, as introduced through Frau Sophie Kufferath, a board member for la Chapellerie. Later that year, they married.
The following years of marriage are unclear, but it is suspected that Joseph, a successful industrialist pressured by a society that expected harmonious family relationships, made a concerted effort to ensure an appearance of a happy couple.
Henri Huklenbrok’s first daughter, Henriette, is born in 13 July 1901.A second daughter follows on the 6th of September 1902, Elisabeth Hucklenbroich. Christian, Henri’s first and only son, was born on the 6th of November 1903.
Henri exhibited at the Exposition Trienniale in Antwerp in 1903, and after that point, he appears to withdraw from the artistic world. This may have been attributed to his duties as a father.
Although it is still unclear, it appears that Henri Huklenbrok and Milly Margreitter divorced around 1910.
Divorce at this time obviously carried with the social stigma of failure, something that Joseph could not stand. He settled in his father, and as far as we know never exhibited his work again. His children, Christian, Henriette, and Elizabeth Hucklenbroich were never seen in photos with their father.
It is presumed that visitation and contact was kept between Henri’s children and the rest of the Hucklenbroich family. But it does not appear that Henri raised them.
He did continue to pursue artistic and literary interests, and traveled between the
family summer home at Blankenberge and the house in Brussels.
It is unknown how he spent his days, but it is apparent that remained close to his father’s side as he resigned his status as an active artist.
One of his stranger interests was Radium. Radium was once an additive in products like toothpaste, hair creams, and even food items, due to its supposed curative powers. After its discovery, radioactivity was thought be a cure for various ills.
Spas featuring radium-rich water are still occasionally touted as beneficial. These products are now known sold during the early 20th century are known as radioactive quackery.
Henri remained close with his family, which had taken on several nephews and nieces before the First World War. His brother Edouard had sired a family of 6 children, the youngest of which would eventually become the sole diarist of Henri’s achievements, Leon Hucklenbroich who was born in 1914.