The Maurice Verbaet Center: an exceptional setting for Post-war Belgian art


Based in the centre of the Antwerp urban area, since 2011, the Maurice Verbaet Center has housed the largest collection of post-1945 Belgian art ever assembled in Belgium. It is all down to the passion of the veteran collector, Maurice Verbaet who frequented artistic circles and markets from the early 1970s to start, what would become a unique collection, with a wealth of over 100,000 works.

The founding artistic choice of the Verbaet collection is the result of a double observation; despite its richness, Belgian art is all too often underestimated, particularly the post-war period. Indeed, more attention is paid to contemporary art while the creators of the 50s, 60s and 70s, also called “Les Trentes Glorieuses (The Glorious Thirty)”, have struggled to develop their visibility.

Maurice Verbaet always wanted to remedy this situation by providing a place and an effective structure to achieve it. So, for over forty years, paintings, sculptures and drawings from all over Belgium have come together across the 3,000 m² of the Maurice Verbaet Center, a post-modern style complex, set over 9 floors. For the record, it was the Antwerp water company (Antwerpse Waterwerken –AWW) that occupied the building until it moved in 2011...

The works are permanently or temporarily on show as part of themed exhibitions. Among others, the collection includes creations by Willy Anthoons, Vic Gentils, Jo Delahaut, Marc Mendelson and Paul Van Hoeydonck, leading artists during Les Trentes Glorieuses. The next objective for the Verbaet collection is to organise travelling exhibitions abroad in order to promote the distribution of Belgian art internationally and thus help to grow its reputation.

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