At the beginning of February 2023, the disturbing message came that a request for demolition had been submitted to the municipality of Ghent for the building at Veurestraat 48a in Afsnee. Now the historical significance of the property in question is apparently little or not known to most - sine culpa. Author : Piet Boyens
At the beginning of February 2023, the disturbing message came that a request for demolition had been submitted to the municipality of Ghent for the building at Veurestraat 48a in Afsnee. Now the historical significance of the property in question is apparently little or not known to most - sine culpa.
Frits Van den Berghe and Gust De Smet lived at this address (named Huize
Malpertuis by the artists themselves) between 1923 and 1929 and realized the best part of their oeuvre there. What was made public in Brussels in magazines and galleries (Sélection, Le Centaure), was hatched and realized in Afsnee. This is where the route of the imposing series of crown jewels has begun, which has been touching our minds [or capturing our hearts] for a hundred years now and has forever defined the characteristics of Flemish Expressionism.
Now - after exactly one hundred years - our judgment is more nuanced and purified, one conclusion remains: the house in Afsnee on the river Leie [Lys] has become par excellence the studio of Flemish expressionism. It is a monumental memory that is more than worth cherishing forever. In the 1920s, Huize Malpertuis was also the national pied-à-terre for writers, painters, sculptors, musicians, art connoisseurs and collectors. In the spring of 1926 even Ossip Zadkine and Marc Chagall came to visit, together
with all the friends of Sélection, the gallery in Brussels.
Is it not our task and perhaps our duty to ensure and pass on to future generations the meanings, values and emotional contents inherent in such a historical phenomenon? With increasing dismantling of this patrimony, the identification with the Leie region as an artists region would increasingly be lost for both residents and visitors. Government protection is urgently needed - as happened in Sint-Martens-Latem in 2007 through the "cultural theme" of six artists' homes.
Our appeal intervenes in an ongoing procedure. However, anyone who wants to go beyond an administrative-procedural point of view cannot avoid the question of whether, in the event of a sudden increase in insight, the process cannot be revised, nuanced or provisionally suspended - in order to safeguard a historic, stone legacy of an absolute heyday in Flemish art history .
Image :Frits Van den Berghe, Malpertuis - het huis van de schilders 1923, privécollectie
ArtDependence Magazine is an international magazine covering all spheres of contemporary art, as well as modern and classical art.
ArtDependence features the latest art news, highlighting interviews with today’s most influential artists, galleries, curators, collectors, fair directors and individuals at the axis of the arts.
The magazine also covers series of articles and reviews on critical art events, new publications and other foremost happenings in the art world.
If you would like to submit events or editorial content to ArtDependence Magazine, please feel free to reach the magazine via the contact page.