The Museum of Fine Arts was a busy place in the summer of 2015. Contemporary artists were at work in the exhibition spaces, where the public could attend workshops. We temporarily shook up our collection and brought seldom-seen pieces out into the light. And we were also preparing our 2015 autumn exhibition. So there was a lot going on!
Since 15th June 2015, dozens of works from the MSK collection had been loaned out to the Singer Museum in Laren in the Netherlands. They featured in that museum’s exhibition ‘Belgian Beauty: from Ensor to Magritte’, which situated Belgian art from the period 1880-1940 in its international – mainly Dutch – context.
That meant that some of the highlights of the collection, from James Ensor, Emile Claus and Léon Spilliaert to Jean Brusselmans, Constant Permeke and René Magritte, disappeared temporarily from the exhibition halls. They were replaced by 30 gems from our storerooms, which dazzled visitors until October 2015.
Masterpieces such as James Ensor’s Children at their Morning Toilet or Fernand Khnopff’s Incense were exhibited again after a long absence. In a few cases, this was in fact the very first time that the public had been able to admire the works.
But the museum was on the move in other ways as well. In preparation for the exhibition The Golden Age Revisited, the rooms where Dutch paintings are exhibited were completely refurbished. The new rooms opened on 10 October 2015. At the same time, present-day artists started work around the central gallery for the exhibition ‘Lines of Tangency’.