About Mircea

Making the world a better place through Art Conservation

Mircea Maria Gerard Olbrich – VanHaevermaet was born on 25 September 1976 in Sint Niklaas, in Flanders, Belgium.

His first home was in an apartment above a bowling alley in town. His loving parents, Paul and Goedelieve, moved to a farmhouse in Zele, Flanders, Belgium, where Mircea grew up surrounded by horses, dogs, chickens, and lots of other animals.

Early on, he had a penchant for drawing, painting and sketching and so his parents arranged to have him attend the Steiner School, which promotes young artistic talent. From there he went on to the Vrije Universiteit Belgie (VUB), and studied Law. He then achieved a second Law degree from the French language sister school, Universite Libre Belgique (ULB).

Mircea was sworn in as a lawyer at the Palais de Justice, Brussels, in 2001 and began practicing law thereafter for a number of prestigious law firms (Bird and Bird, Liedekere) and then became an in-house lawyer for Gaz de France in Brussels.

During this time Mircea met Luke Olbrich in 2000, and they lived together from that time, and eventually married in 2008 in Belgium, shortly after marriage equality was made legal.

All the while, Mircea read and painted and sketched. And painted and sketched even more.

Mircea, with Luke and their two adopted dogs, Gobbah and Seppe,

moved to the UK for a few years and eventually Mircea decided that his love of art and history were more important than the legal profession.

He applied and was accepted into Marist University’s (based in New York) Florence based bachelor programme at the Lorenzo de Medici school for art conservation and restoration. He and his husband, Luke, moved with their two dogs to Florence. Mircea completed a four year degree in just two years; doing double time and making Dean’s List every semester.

During this time in Florence, Mircea had the opportunity to study under the tutelage of a globally renowned art conservator and restorer, Ms Daniela Murphy Corella. Daniela introduced Mircea to the association for restorers she helped found, the Association Bastioni. As a member of the Association, Mircea learned the business and the practical aspects of art conservation and restoration. Mircea was fortunate enough, while also studying, to work with a number of the members of the Association.

Mircea graduated with Honors in December 2015.

Mircea had plans to study and was leaving on April 5, 2016 for his final interview for acceptance to SUPSI, one of the best art conservation and restoration schools worldwide, to begin his PhD programme.

During January to March 2016, he was supporting a talented member of the Association Bastioni, Ms Chiara Piani, restoring the “Putto with Dolphin”, by Verrocchio (c 1479), which can be found in the Palazzo Vecchio.

Mircea killed himself on April 3, 2016 at his home in Florence at the age of 39 years old.

He never finished the restoration of the Putto with Dolphin. 

The MMG Foundation has been established to continue the work he started and to begin all of the work he didn’t have the time to get to. With love and affection for his everlasting spirit ensuring he lives on, in the memory of the living.

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