Four years after opening the Magritte Museum, the first stage of the federal collections redeployment, the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium are pleased to present the completion of the second stage with the opening of the Musée Fin-de-Siècle Museum on 6 December 2013.

1868 – 1914

The new Musée Fin-de-Siècle Museum presents Brussels as the cultural crossroads of Europe at the turn of the century. This exceptional collection of works by Belgian artists such as James Ensor, Fernand Khnopff, Léon Spilliaert, Victor Horta, Henry Van de Velde or Philippe Wolfers,… and by  foreign artists such as Paul Gauguin, Auguste Rodin, Pierre Bonnard, Emile Gallé, Louis Majorelle and Alphonse Mucha,… places the art scene at the heart of international creativity.

With the organization of the salons of Les XX (1883-1894) and La Libre Esthétique (1894–1914), in the very rooms of this museum, Brussels became a unique hub for creative work. It didn’t identify itself with the Impressionist wave but found in the conjunction of Symbolism, the Wagnerian movement and Art Nouveau the emblems of an identity that did, to a great extent, shape the face of the city. “Brussels, capital of Art Nouveau” is not just a matter of architecture. The term refers in the first place to the dynamism of a society. And this society made its mark in every art discipline: literature, painting, opera, music, architecture, photography, and poetry; and through the works of Maurice Maeterlinck, Emile Verhaeren, Jean Delville, Henri Evenepoel, Constantin Meunier, Maurice Kufferath, and Guillaume Lekeu, to name a few.

Offering an account of this adventure requires a multidisciplinary approach that has only been made possible thanks to the partnership between the Royal Museums of Fine Arts and our colleagues in the Royal Library, La Monnaie/De Munt, the Royal Museums of Art and History, Cinematek, Bibliotheca Wittockiana , the King Baudouin Foundation and the Royal Conservatory of Brussels. To this list of partners we must add Belfius and Brussels Capital Region, which conserved the outstanding Gillion Crowet collection. This collection is one of the highlights of our circuit and indeed its culmination.

The budget for this project comes to some 8.7 million euros, of which more than one million comes from the patronage of Baron and Baroness Gillion Crowet – whose collection is to be seen in all its glory on floor -8 of the Museum. The Royal Museums, for their part, invested 2.7 million euros in the renovation of the rooms. Finally, and most importantly, the Buildings Agency (Régie des bâtiments), which renovated the rooms and was involved in the climate control and lighting, committed a total of 5 million euros to the Musée Fin-de-Siècle Museum.

The Musée Fin-de-Siècle Museum provides an innovative museal approach accessible to everyone, whether able of less able. Multidisciplinary and sensory experiences, creative discoveries, and new technologies are made available to the public.

This is a tremendous opportunity for the public to delve into the splendour of the 1900s!



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