The 'De Blieck' bequest: a special addition to the Ghent… | MSK Gent
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The 'De Blieck' bequest: a special addition to the Ghent collection

Emile Claus, 'Zonnige dreef', 1903, MSK Ghent - Bequest of the heirs of Jozef and Fernand De Blieck
Emile Claus, 'Zonnige dreef', 1903, MSK Ghent - Bequest of the heirs of Jozef and Fernand De Blieck

Since 21 October 2016, the MSK has been exhibiting works of art from the special bequest of Jozef and Fernand De Blieck in its permanent presentation. The bequest consists of some twenty-five rare paintings and sculptures, mainly by artists active in Sint-Martens-Latem and the Leie region.

Two special collections

The works of art that were transferred to the museum in 2016 spent the previous 50 years in the privacy of two collections. They were left by inheritance to MSK, which already has a strong tradition in the art of the Leie region. The generous gesture not only brought not only long-forgotten, but also brilliant works of art back to the foreground. The bequest also strengthens the already existing ensemble of works of art from this period and illustrates the attraction of the museum as a knowledge centre of Belgian art around 1900.

Close ties with local artists

A large part of the bequest comes from the collection of Jozef De Blieck (1866-1927), an Antwerp brewer, liberal politician, patron and art collector. De Blieck was a close friend of Valerius De Saedeleer (1867-1941) and George Minne (1866-1941), which explains the large number of works by them in the bequest. But the collections also contain paintings by Emile Claus (1849-1924), Albijn Van den Abeele (1835-1918) and Gustave Van de Woestyne (1881-1947), all of which are valuable additions to the museum collection. We'll look at a few highlights in more detail.

Special share of Valerius De Saedeleer

The De Saedeleer share in the bequest stands out, with no fewer than 11 paintings by this artist. These are works that were often only known through black-and-white images until now... Absolute masterpieces are End of a Beautiful Day (1905), Farmhouse in the Snow (1907), Winter Landscape in Wales (ca. 1916) and Small Village under the Snow (1933).

Added to the works of De Saedeleer already present in the museum collection, the MSK can now closely follow the evolution of the artist, from his period in Sint-Martens-Latem and Tiegem before the First World War, and Wales during the war, to Etikhove where the artist lived from 1921 until his death. His friend De Blieck lived about twenty kilometres away in Geraardsbergen, right across the Flemish Ardennes.

Sculpture by George Minne

Aside from De Saedeleer, Minne is also well represented in the bequest. Although the MSK already possessed the most extensive museum collection of sculptures and drawings by Minne, the bequest is also a wonderful acquisition here. It is now possible to show versions of certain images in different materials, ranging from bronze and wood to marble and granite. In this way, we can illustrate Minne's metholdoly and the processing of one image in various media.

Gustave Van de Woestyne

Finally, a small but exquisite painting by Gustave Van de Woestyne deserves our attention. Shortly after his arrival in Sint-Martens-Latem, the young artist painted a full-length portrait of Deeske (1902). FThis simple tenant became one of his favourite models, recurring as a type image in numerous paintings.