In partnership with the Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Antwerp, the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium present an exceptional retrospective exhibition of the work of Rik Wouters. More than 200 works of art will be exhibited in our museum, including drawings, sculptures and paintings. Rik Wouters (21 August 1882 – 11 July 1916), one of the most famous Belgian artists of the early 20th century, was initially a sculptor and later studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts of Brussels. He was influenced by Emile Claus and James Ensor. In 1912, during his stay in Paris, he was greatly impressed by the works of Auguste Renoir and Paul Cézanne, and from that year on, his way of working changed dramatically. He lightened his palette, used pure and luminous colours, abandoned the ‘chiaoscuro’ and the heavy pastings for a lighter painting that gave his works a lightness and intense inner light. Nel, his wife, lover, muse, and much-loved model can be recognized in many of the paintings. The First World War and illness hampered Wouters’ career and he died in Amsterdam after two operations, barely 33 years old, in July 1916. The work Rik Wouters created in just a decade, is at the heart of a period of turmoil and artistic innovation and timehas not altered these magnificent masterpieces!
Pierre Lahaut, at the same time professor in various schools and painter, became a member of the ‘Jeunes Figuratifs Belges’ in 1957 and was co-founder of the group Axis 59. The exhibition presented at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium focuses on the 1960s. As early as 1958, Pierre Lahaut was moving towards non-figurative and the artist’s preference leaned towards lyrical movement versus geometric obedience. About forty works of this period will be presented in the Patio 0. With the Digital Experience, it has been possible to draw up a complete portrait of the artist, in particular through the presentation of photos and films which give a better understanding of Pierre Lahaut’s personality.
One of the films (L’art au bout des doigts “The painter Pierre Lahaut”, directed by Claude Lebrun, RTBF, 03.08.1968) shows
Pierre Lahaut presenting his own exhibition at the Palais des Beaux-Arts of Brussels in 1967. You can also watch extracts from the programme 50° Nord (RTBF) which gives an overview of the artist’s full career (1958-2008) during his retrospective exhibition at the Musée d’Ixelles in 2011.
Angel Vergara has a privileged relationship with the RMFAB! As a young Spanish exile, he arrived in Brussels in 1964 to study at the Academy of Fine Arts but it was in the Museums that he discovered the great masters. This exhibition makes reference to Baudelaire who also found, though 100 years earlier, economic and political asylum in Brussels. You will see Vergara’s famous video paintings which follow the five lectures given by Baudelaire in Brussels in order to explain his concept of modernity. Vergara’s «actes-tableaux» will also be shown in the Museums as well as in some of the poet’s favourite places in Brussels. Documents, objects and creations highlight the context of Baudelaire’s arrival: dandyism, salons, publishers, morality, religion… They also underline the connection between 1870, when Belgium is the second largest economic power in the world, and 1970 when the country finds a new prosperity and attracts artists from all over the world. The idea of ‘Modernity’ advocated by Baudelaire is echoed in the modernity lived by the artistic and intellectual avant-garde, as shown by a selection of works from our Museums’ Collection. The emergence in Belgium of a new generation of art patrons and collectors, attuned to the modernist ideas of art, allowed for the diffusion of works from movements suchas Fluxus, Pop, Minimal, Conceptual, Arte povera… which will have a great impact on artists in Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent and Liège.
The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium present the results of several years of research on the work of Pieter Bruegel the Elder. This research has made it possible to unveil the secrets of some fantastic creatures and enigmatic objects in The Fall of the Rebel Angels. This painting is a reflection on the potential danger of the human quest for art, knowledge and politics, a universal theme which is stronger than ever. The findings of this research can be found in a book and in a series of slide shows focussing on the work of Bruegel. Thanks to a new multimedia system, the visitor can enter Bruegel’s universe and discover his original vision close to the culture of the cabinets of curiosities and the excitement for New World discoveries at the time.
Did you know? The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium own the second biggest collection of Bruegel works in the world after the Kunsthistorisches Museum – Wien (Vienna- Austria).