For the first time, this exhibition brings together the most important collection of his works. 200 paintings, drawings and sculptures immerse the visitor in Wouters’ radiant and spontaneous world, between Fauvism and avant-garde. Over 30 national and international museums, institutions and art collectors entrusted the RMFAB with their precious artworks – some of them never exhibited before. This major exhibition closes the series of tributes linked to the centenary of the artist’s death.
A prominent figure in Brabant’s Fauvism, Rik Wouters brought us brilliant and colorful art, far from the dramas that marked his existence until his early death in 1916 at the age of 33. Rik Wouters equally mastered painting, sculpting and drawing: his extraordinary career has made him an essential representative of Modern Art in Belgium.
The retrospective exhibition organized by the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, in partnership with the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp, is exceptional. For the first time, the two museums bring together in one exhibition the most important collection of works by the illustrious Belgian artist of the early 20th century. Rare loans from private collections and major international museums complete the ensemble. This major exhibition closes the series of tributes linked to the centenary of the artist’s death.
The art of Rik Wouters is above all an abundance of colors and authentic, simple, touching subjects. Through his visual language, the construction of his subjects and the luminous richness of his palette, he developed an avant-garde style, while also being associated with artists like Ensor, then Cézanne and even Renoir. Rik Wouters was quickly appreciated by his contemporaries; his dazzling talent, although obstructed early on by the Great War and his illness, bequeaths to us a fascinating and masterful artistic legacy.
Angel Vergara, Video Still Of Jardin, wall led, 6.43min — © Angel Vergara
The work of the Brussels-based Spanish artist Angel Vergara includes many disciplines: performance, video, installations, drawings, paintings. Through these techniques the artist explores and opens up the field of painting and its new forms, from an aesthetic and an ethical point of view. Vergara’s new figurative approach is an answer to the contemporary challenges of painting, whereby he reinterprets already mediated images or manipulates them by the language of moving images.
In his recent painted films he links audiovisual to painting, putting the act of painting at the heart of his own pictorial production.
The exhibition at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium evokes Charles Baudelaire’s five lectures droning his stay in Brussels, in which he defended his view on modernity by texts, poems and improvisations. In From Scene to Scene, Angel Vergara presents five large-format “painted films”, echoing Baudelaire’s lectures.
Angel Vergara was in charge of the Belgian pavilion at the 54th Art Biennial of Venice in 2011 (curator: Luc Tuymans). His work is internationally renowned and has been included in numerous exhibitions.
The works of Pierre Lahaut (1931-2013) remain a privileged witness to the evolution of the Belgian artistic movements throughout the second half of the twentieth century. We associate them with different successive trends, such as symbolism, minimalism, new subjectivity and geometricization. Having twice won the prize for Jeune Peinture belge, Pierre Lahaut is also known for being a member of the group Jeunes Figuratifs belges and co-founder of the group Axe 59. He was involved in the academic world and was a well-known teacher, having taught for 17 years at the National School of Visual Arts of La Cambre (ENSAV) where he created the Atelier de dessin et stimulation graphique (Drawing and Graphic Design Studio).
Through forty paintings, the exhibition at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium focuses on the sixties, a pivotal point in time for the artist. The selection shows the shift Pierre Lahaut made to the non-figurative and lyrical movement in the face of geometric obedience. The same paintings and aquarelles were exhibited in the Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels in 1967. 50 years later, the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium invite you to rediscover these works, enriched by the addition of a technological component: the Digital Experience.
To deepen this experience, a multimedia cylinder offers enhanced content – touchscreen table, videos, photos, archives, high definition projections, etc. – for a comprehensive approach to the life and works of Pierre Lahaut. With this innovative concept, the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium aim to constantly renew the experience of the public within the museum. Located at the heart of this space for a minimum of three years, this project will complement and improve each new selection from the collection of modern and contemporary art.
The exhibition is under the high patronage of Princess Léa of Belgium.
The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium would like to thank the partners who made this concept possible: TreeTop, the National Lottery and the Friends of Museums