40 works of art from the Matthys-Colle private collection managed by S.M.A.K.


Since last year S.M.A.K. has been managing part of the works of art of the Matthys-Colle Foundation. The purchase of the painting 'Great American Nude #45' (1963) by the American pop artist Tom Wesselmann, from this collection by the Flemish Community for S.M.A.K., marked the start of this public-private partnership, unique in Belgium.

This acquisition was accompanied by the long-term loan to the museum of 39 other works of art by internationally renowned artists from the prestigious collection of Mr Roger and Mrs Hilde Matthys-Colle. This couple collected during the second half of the 20th century with special attention for innovative artistic attitudes. Their focus was mainly abroad, where in cities such as New York, Paris and Düsseldorf they bought works by artists whose oeuvre was in full development at the time. They often did this very shortly after the works of art were created, so that the collection includes early masterpieces by artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Cy Twombly.

The Matthys-Colle Collection comes home to S.M.A.K., as it were. Roger Matthys was in fact, together with Karel Geirlandt, one of the founders of the Vereniging voor het Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst (V.M.H.K.) in 1957. The V.M.H.K. worked for the public right of existence of contemporary art in our region and purchased works of art with a view to the establishment of an autonomous museum for contemporary art. Under Matthys' chairmanship of the V.M.H.K. (1974-'79), the Museum of Contemporary Art (MHK), now S.M.A.K., was finally established in 1975. With his vision and international connections, Matthys had a great influence on the collection of the V.M.H.K. The parallels between the Matthys-Colle Collection and that of the V.M.H.K. are therefore obvious. It is striking, for example, that artists from minimalist and conceptual art are richly represented in both collections.

Over the next few years S.M.A.K. will organise a series of research exhibitions and activities, each time starting with works from the Matthys-Colle Collection. A first exhibition is planned for the autumn of 2021. It will focus on pop art, a movement that plays a prominent role in both the S.M.A.K. collection and the Matthys-Colle Collection. The publication 'La Collection et son Double' will explain the relationship between both collections in depth.

11.Feb.21 Category: Collection
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