Private Passion X Public Duty.Hoet & Matthys-Colle: Through Collectors’ Eyes.

Joel Fisher Roger Matthys Joel Fischer 1977 Mirjam Devriendt

To mark the tenth anniversary of his death, Jan Hoet (1936-2014), founder of the museum, is commemorated in a special exhibition: 'Private Passion X Public Duty: Hoet & Matthys-Colle: Through Collectors’ Eyes'.

Ten years after the death of Jan Hoet (1936-2014), the founder of S.M.A.K., this exhibition explores the similarities and differences between Hoet’s acquisition policy and the works purchased by the husband-and-wife collectors, Roger and Hilda Matthys-Colle. Dr Roger Matthys (1920-2016) was one of the founders of the Association for the Museum of Contemporary Art (V.M.H.K.), an organisation that lobbied for its own museum and purchased works of art. As president from 1974 to 1979, Matthys had a great deal of influence on the V.M.H.K.’s purchasing policy. His private collection included many artists whose work was exhibited or purchased by the museum. The two collections are therefore closely intertwined and complementary.

The Matthys-Colle Collection is not only fascinating because it spans fifty years, but also because Roger Matthys often purchased work from artists at an early stage, and this for both his private collection and the V.M.H.K. Moreover, the Matthys-Colle Collection is not limited to one particular movement. It thus offers a condensed overview of art history during the second half of the twentieth century – albeit through almost exclusively male and Western artists.

Especially at the end of Dr Matthys’ life and after his death, works were sold or exchanged if they no longer fitted into the collection or to free up resources for new acquisitions. In 2020, thirty-nine works were given on long-term loan to S.M.A.K. This exhibition showcases – for the first time – a number of other works from the Matthys-Colle Collection. Given the historical affinity between the private collection and that of the museum, gaps can be filled and works can occasionally be brought together as pairs or ensembles. Every artist in this exhibition is – or was once – represented in both collections.

On the upper floor, an archive exhibition takes a closer look at the Matthys-Colle Collection and the figure of Jan Hoet. In the Friends of S.M.A.K. room, you can discover a selection of the editions published by the V.M.H.K. by artists who are (or were) represented in the Matthys-Colle Collection.

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