The Eugeen Van Mieghem Foundation donates enormous collection to KMSKA

The Eugeen Van Mieghem Foundation is donating a large part of its art collection to the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp (KMSKA). It comprises 226 works, 215 of which are by Van Mieghem (1875-1930) himself. In doing so, the Foundation says it wants to ensure the painter's legacy of mainly (undisguised) harbour and city scenes for the future.

The Foundation is best known for the Eugeen Van Mieghem museum in Antwerp, which highlights the painter's life and work. That museum will continue to exist, but it is too small for the entire collection the Foundation acquired over the years.

The KMSKA, for its part, fills a major gap in its own collection with the works. The art museum only possesses two paintings and three drawings by Van Mieghem, who is one of the best-known Antwerp painters of the early 20th century. The KMSKA's permanent exhibition will soon include several additional works by Van Mieghem, and the museum is planning a major retrospective around the man in 2025.

Havenvrouwen by Eugeen Van Mieghem ©CC By-SA 3.0
Havenvrouwen by Eugeen Van Mieghem ©CC By-SA 3.0

Van Mieghem lived on Antwerp's Eilandje when it was still a port area. His surroundings inspired his paintings, drawings and sketches. He also incorporated the years during World War I into his work.

"The driving force behind the Foundation, Erwin Joos, recently contacted us with the message that they wanted to make a large donation to the KMSKA," says KMSKA chairman Luk Lemmens. "This is a wonderful day for us. This collection will form the basis for a major exhibition in 2025 and will also end up in our permanent collection. It is a very diverse collection, with paintings, drawings, graphics, etc. Van Mieghem was unique in portraying his time and putting the Antwerp of that time on the map. This is a great asset."

The KMSKA states that donations are becoming more critical for art museums, especially as works of art become increasingly expensive to purchase. An estimated 40 per cent of the KMSKA collection ended up in the museum thanks to donations and legacies.

#FlandersNewsService | Interior of KMSKA © BELGA PHOTO JONAS ROOSENS

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