The Musée des Beaux-Arts (BAL) de Liège is currently showcasing a series of treasures until now kept hidden in its collection of 19th and 20th century paintings. An excellent initiative, since there are far too many interesting works that we never see due to a lack of space or imagination. To further highlight its initiative, the BAL obtained fifteen paintings on loan from the Belfius collection – an impressive collection with thousands of works that have only been lent out on rare occasions since the financial crisis.
We had high expectations of this unique rendez-vous and we were right: it is just wonderful to see the 15 Belfius paintings and the 57 works of the Liege collection together under one roof! Take the works of Van Rysselberghe: we see Voile rouge from the Belfius collection, contrasting with Pin à La Fossette – two different views of the Mediterranean by the same Ghent painter. Maybe even more surprising is the confrontation between the charming little painting by Evenepoel from the bank’s collection that depicts a couple walking in the Bois de Boulogne, and a similar, yet large, salon-sized painting of the same scene belonging to the Liège museum, which features the same couple (a soldier and his wife), without a child in this case.
What makes this exhibition especially fascinating for lovers of visual arts, however, is the works of the unknown artists who are seldom seen in a museum or gallery. At the entrance, for example, you’ll immediately notice two large, spontaneous works by Marcel Jefferys in delicate colours. If you like paintings of scenes and landscapes, you’ll love comparing Soirée en Ardenne, a work by Raeymaekers, with the realism of Evariste Carpentier in La Laveuse de navet (Washing Turnips) or the suprising Terril by Serge Creuz, who is well-known for his watercolours of flowers and the like. There is also a beautiful series of works by Rik Wouters, centred on the person of Nel and a beautiful landscape painted by Juliette Wytsman, a grand lady of Belgian impressionism (with Anna Boch).
More artists who are hardly known and have been hidden in the archives for far too long: Jean Gouweloos, Marcel Hess and Georges Conrady. It is only when you come across their works, almost by chance, in one auction room or another, that you realise what great paintings they’ve made.
We shouldn’t be hiding our wonderful art heritage in basements. The Liège museum can be proud to be leading by example!
Un siècle de Peinture Belge
Rencontre de deux collections
Musée des Beaux-Arts de 0Liège, Salle Saint-Georges
Until 9 November 2014
Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00
Free entrance every 1st Sundays of the month