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Top pieces from Boijmans on show for five years at our southern neighbours on the Schelde.

The Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp (KMSKA) is reopening its doors after eleven years. Eight top pieces from the collection of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen will be exhibited for five years in the reopened KMSKA.

Not only has the building been renovated; attention has also been given to a renewed collection presentation. To place the Antwerp collection in a wider context and to increase the impact of the themes among the public, it is being enriched with eight long-term loans. Works by artists such as Dalí, Kokoschka, Jan Toorop, Delacroix and Bill Viola stand out during the long-awaited reopening. This exceptional and long-term loan to our Southern neighbours has been made possible as the museum in Rotterdam will be closed until 2029 for a major renovation. 

Boijmans x KMSKA

To ensure that the public can continue to view the Boijmans collection as much as possible during the renovation period, the museum is engaging in local, national and international collaborations. Until now with temporary exhibitions but, this time, with a long-term loan. It is not that odd that the Rotterdam collection should be given a place in the Belgian port city. Both cities collaborate closely in the political and economic spheres, and now there is an additional impulse to the cultural exchange.

Enriched by eight Rotterdam works from Boijmans collection

The KMSKA is exhibiting eight Boijmans items in its new collection set-up, among a selection of 600 works, in which ‘discover’ and ‘look carefully’ are central among the many themes and unexpected confrontations.

The work of Marcel Broodthaers, ‘Une vipère, un vampire, une vitre’, is a fine complement to the ambiguous, allegorical picture puzzles from the renaissance and the baroque. ‘Kings of Egypt II’ by Jean-Michel Basquiat is being exhibited in the Impotence room, in combination with four white marble busts of governors-general opposite Rodin’s sculpture of Pierre de Wissant - which stands for the powerless in society.

Marcel Broodthaers, Une vipère, un vampire, une vitre, 1974, Collection Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. Purchase with support of Vereniging Rembrandt and VriendenLoterij 2010
Marcel Broodthaers, Une vipère, un vampire, une vitre, 1974, Collection Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. Purchase with support of Vereniging Rembrandt and VriendenLoterij 2010
Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kings of Egypt II, 1982, Collection Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. Loan Stichting Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Donation: Hans Sonnenberg 2012
Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kings of Egypt II, 1982, Collection Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. Loan Stichting Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Donation: Hans Sonnenberg 2012

‘Landscape with Girl Skipping Rope’ by Salvador Dalí takes a central place in the Evil room. The triptych with the girl skipping rope in a desert symbolises possibly a happy childhood memory, but the evil lurks in the ear-shattering silence. ‘Christ on the cross’ by Eugène Delacroix is placed next to the altarpiece. In this moving sketch of a Crucifixion, Delacroix combines a composition of Rubens with the light of Rembrandt. Delacroix particularly admired Christ on the Cross, a painting that he went to study in Antwerp twice in his life. One of the public’s favourites in Rotterdam, ‘The Mandrill’ by Oskar Kokoschka, forms a contrast in a series of portraits of distinguished citizens from the seventeenth century. With wild brush strokes and bright colours, Kokoschka captures the wild character of a mandrill, just like the painter an isolated being.

‘Evening Landscape with Timber Wagon’ by Peter Paul Rubens could not be excluded from the loan. Rubens’ evening landscape is a fine addition to the exceptional, but primarily religious works by the master in the KMSKA collection. The poetry of the charming landscape announces Romanticism. Rubens’ world view is in sharp contrast to the depictions of untamed and threatening nature in the same room.

Bill Viola’s video of the ‘Man of Sorrows’ is confronted with portrayals of Christ by Albert Bouts and James Ensor. And the eighth work, ‘The new generation’ by Jan Toorop, is given a place next to the symbolic work ‘The fall of the rebel angels’ (1889) by his good friend James Ensor. Toorop and Ensor shared an interest for unreal subjects in a style which, as it were, took leave of realism.

Now on show

On 24 September, the renovated Royal Museum for Fine Arts Antwerp (KMSKA) opens its doors. After eleven years of building and renovating, the museum is once again welcoming the public. Tickets are available via www.kmska.be.

Collection can be seen during the museum's renovation

While the museum is closed, the collection (151,000 items) remains on show both at home and abroad. With the brand-new Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen, the collection has a permanent storage location that is accessible to the public.