Friday, November 6, 2009


THE COLLECTION of modern art is wide and varied and includes works by well-known 20th-century painters from Belgium and around the world. There is no clearly defined route to follow within this section, nor are the exhibits strictly grouped by period or movement, so it is best to wander through the collection, stopping at areas of interest.

There are a number of works by the leading Belgian artists of the 20th century, such as Fauvist painter Rik Wouters’ (1882–1916) The Flautist (1914). International artists include Matisse, Paul Klee and Chagall. But the real draw for most people is the collection of pictures by the Belgian Surrealists, in particular René Magritte (1898–1967). His best-known paintings, including The Domain of Arnheim (1962), are on display here. Another noted Surrealist, Paul Delvaux, is also well represented with works such as Evening Train (1957) and Pygmalion (1939).

Belgian art of the 20th century tends to be severe and stark, but the postwar Jeune Peinture Belge school reintroduced colour in an abstract way and is represented in works such as Marc Mendelson’s 1950s Toccata et fugue.

Sculpture highlights in this section include Ossip Zadkine’s totem pole-like Diana (1937) and Henry Moore’s Draped Woman on Steps (1957–8).