Art critic, author of monograph on Van der Weyden; lawyer; politician of the socialist party, minister. Destrée was the eldest son of Olivier Destrée (1834-1899), an engineer, and Clémentine-Jeanne Defontaine (1836-1876). He attended high school at the Collège de Charleroi, Charleroi, Belgium, and studied law at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, from which university he earned his doctoral degree in law in 1883. In 1886 he joined the Bar of Advocates of Charleroi. At the same time he was attracted to the literary movement and he became a collaborator to La Jeune Belgique.