Walther Vanbeselaere, Collector for the State

Since 2007, the policy of Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens has been to investigate and unlock socially and art historically relevant art collections. Up till now the museum has exhibited several private art collections and one corporate art collection. In collaboration with the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp (KMSKA) the museum has researched the collections policy of museum conservator Walther Vanbeselaere as well as its significance in the creation of the Dhondt-Dhaenens collection.

This summer, Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens presents the modern art collection of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp (KMSKA), largely put together by its head conservator Walther Vanbeselaere between 1948 and 1973. His ideas on modern Flemish art were particularly influential. Vanbeselaere also had a very big influence on the creation of the Dhondt-Dhaenens collection. Following his significant role in these institutions, several parallels can be drawn between the two collections.

The exhibition brings work by outstanding Belgian modern artists such as James Ensor, Henri Evenepoel, Léon Spilliaert, Edgard Tytgat, Jean Brusselmans and Rik Wouters - artists that were very much admired by Vanbeselaere. However, the conservator was also interested in the international art scene of that time. The collection of Belgian art was thus complemented with works from Edgar Degas, Ben Nicholson, Marino Marini and Giacomo Manzù.

For the presentation of this exhibition, three contemporary artists were invited to interplay with the space of the museum. Artists Oleg Matrokhin, Bart Lodewijks and Jacqy duVal interchange with the Vanbeselaere collection through special architectural, coloristic and mathematical interventions.