Among Friends | MSK Gent
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Among Friends

25.11.23 – 28.04.24


With the exhibition Among friends, the MSK explores the close ties between art collectors and the museum, uniting exceptional work from private collections with historical donations and bequests in the MSK collection.

A passion for art

Over the 225-year history of the Museum of Fine Arts Ghent, and during the 125 years of the Friends of the Museum, the MSK has established close ties with countless private art lovers. The museum has acquired some of its most prestigious works of art through donations, gifts and legacies from collectors. It is very grateful to those who have been so generous, and to those who continue to provide substantial support today. The exhibition Among Friends spotlights these close friendships.

In this exceptional exhibition, dozens of works that usually reside in a private setting are now on show alongside related works from the museum’s own collection. Among Friends presents an eclectic yet stunning mix of art dating from the mid-14th century to around 1960, and elicits a dialogue between familiar and hidden collections that enhances both.

Hopping through 16 rooms

Now seen together, the works hop and skip between the past and the future, with a diverse range of collectors and their various styles of collecting art determining both the rules of the game and its playing field.

The exhibition’s themes show how the museum’s collections have taken shape. For instance, how appreciation for mediaeval sculpture developed, who played a crucial role in collecting drawings by Old Masters, and when prints by modern artists began to grow in popularity. But also how the museum’s collection relates to artistic and socio-cultural developments in and outside of Ghent, the role of the Ghent academy throughout the 19th century, how the Friends realised their encyclopaedic dream, and how mainly (but not exclusively) Belgian donators and legacies have enriched the museum’s collection. In short: every possible way that private collectors have played or will play a role in the museum’s history in the past, present and future.

Works from private collections

The exhibition includes works by Pierre Alechinsky, Karel Appel, Jan Davidsz. de Heem, Raoul De Keyser, Roelant Savery, Fernand Khnopff, Auguste Rodin, Frans Snijders, Félicien Rops, Peter Paul Rubens, László Moholy-Nagy, Frits Van den Berghe, Léon Spilliaert, Medardo Rosso, Théo Van Rysselberghe and Hans Hartung.

Family route

We've developed a special route for visitors with children. Explore the exhibition together, make little works of art in the museum galleries, and return home with your own little art collection! Throughout the exhibition galleries you'll find eight yellow chests. They contain material to make your own little work of art. At the start of your visit, you will be given a map at the reception desk showing all the chests.


Parallel aan de tentoonstelling 'Onder vrienden' verscheen een uitgebreide catalogus met verdiepende teksten en afbeeldingen van de talrijke werken van privéverzamelaars en de museumcollectie die in 'Onder vrienden' te zien zijn.

20231123 MSK Onder Vrienden zalen c Martin Corlazzoli COR06124

Support the MSK

You can contribute to the MSK in many ways. Financially, with your time and expertise, with your own works of art.... We've made a handy overview of the various ways to support the museum. And, of course, you will always get something in return.

Centraal in beeld staat een witte buste van een vrouw. Daarachter hangen een viertal grote schilderijen uit de achttiende en negentiende eeuw. Er staan op de achtergrond twee vrouwen te kijken.