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rue de la Régence / Regentschapsstraat 3

Museumplein 1

The museum had two sections, one for ancient art and one for modern art. The museum of ancient art was housed in the Oude Hof, formerly the palace of Prince Charles Alexander of Lorraine (1712–1780). The modern art museum’s collection had moved to the ducal palace in 1862 but had returned to the Oude Hof in 1876. In 1880, the Palais des Beaux-Arts opened in Regentschapsstraat, adjacent to the Oude Hof, and both collections are still housed there today.

Van Gogh in

Musée des Beaux Arts

  1. 13 Nov. 1878 1878
  2. 17 Apr. 1881 1881
     - 30 Apr. 1881 1881

On his way from Paris to the Netherlands in November 1878, Theo van Gogh stopped in Brussels to see his brother Vincent. Together they visited the Musée des Beaux Arts, where Vincent was impressed by “so many remarkable paintings”. In a letter to his brother, he singled out the work of the artists Charles De Groux (1825–1870), Henri Leys (1815–1869) and Joseph Théodore Coosemans (1828–1904).

Two and a half years later, in the spring 1881, Vincent visited the museum once more. By then, the collection had moved to another building nearby. Vincent viewed the annual exhibition of the royal Belgian watercolour society. He found the show interesting and was particularly impressed by the Dutch artists. Fishing boat and Horseman by Willem Hendrik Mesdag (1831–1915) captivated him in particular:

“It was a large, important drawing, broadly done and so powerful that, as I said, nothing else could hold a candle to it.” Read the complete letter

Relevant letters from Vincent

Continue reading

  1. Michèle van Kalck

    De Koninklijke Musea voor Schone Kunsten van België: twee eeuwen geschiedenis
    Brussel, 2003
  2. Paul Fagel

    Van Gogh in Brussel
    In: Nederlandse Vereniging te Brussel. Jubileum 1906-1966
  3. W. Lutjeharms

    De Vlaamse opleidingsschool van Nicolaas de Jonge en zijn opvolgers (1875-1926)
    Brussel 1978
  4. Bart Moens

    De kunstenaarsopleiding van Vincent van Gogh in Brussel
    Brussel 2012 (ongepubliceerde scriptie, in te zien in de bibliotheek van het Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam)
  5. Sjraar van Heugten (red.)

    Van Gogh in de Borinage: de geboorte van een kunstenaar
    Brussel, 2015