The first Eugeen Van Mieghem Museum was inaugurated in Antwerp on March 24th 1993 on the initiative of the Eugeen Van Mieghem Foundation (established by Erwin Joos in 1982).
The museum soon outgrew the building at No. 2 Korte Riddersstraat and on March 24th 1998 it moved to No. 8 Beatrijslaan on Antwerp’s left bank.
A short while later, the Royal Belgian Shipowners’ Association (RBSA) offered to house the museum in Het Redershuis (The Shipowners’ Building) at No. 9 Ernest Van Dijckkaai. On March 30th 2010 the new Eugeen Van Mieghem Museum was inaugurated there in the presence of the association’s then chairman Nicolas Saverys. Thanks to the patronage of the RBSA, the museum is assured of a home at Het Redershuis until March 2030.
The Eugeen Van Mieghem Foundation, which is responsible for running the museum, has approximately 1,000 members. It receives no subsidies, so the museum relies on the annual subscriptions of its members, help from volunteers and on sponsorship. All the association’s resources are invested in the museum’s collection.
On show in the museum are some 200 works by Eugeen Van Mieghem (1875-1930) in a variety of techniques. They are displayed chronologically and particular attention is paid to social and cultural life in Antwerp and Flanders around the turn of the century.
All the artworks in the museum either belong to the foundation or are on loan from private collections.
During your visit you can also see a film about the artist’s life and consult a number of books which have been published about him.
Those who visit the museum as part of a group can also admire the beautifully restored Redershuis – Shipowners’ Building – in the company of one of our guides.
Gustave Albrecht (1860 - 1925)
Between 1880 and 1886 a programme of major public works was implemented in Antwerp. The River Scheldt was straightened and the stone quays built, obliterating the historical area around the Steen (fortress) in the process. In 1896 the successful shipbroker Gustave Albrecht had an imposing mansion built on the Antwerp roads.
Albrecht had the architect Jos Hertogs (like him, a freemason) design his house with an office on the ground floor of the building and the living area above. Several years later Hertogs also designed the monumental Hanzahuis alongside it for the German banker Wilhelm von Mallinckrodt.
Decorator Henri Verbuecken gave the house an exotic cohesion with styles that ranged from Venetian quattrocento to the Japanese Edo period.
From 1949 a part of the building was occupied by the renowned restaurant La Rade, which for many years boasted two stars in the culinary Michelin guide. This brought the building with its museum-like interior to the eye of the public. The restaurant closed in 2005.
In 2008 the RBSA purchased the building with the intention of restoring it and using it as a prestigious venue for receiving important guests. The unlisted attics were converted into a modern office space.
At almost the same time as the inauguration of Het Redershuis by King Albert II in 2010, the Eugeen Van Mieghem Museum opened on the ground floor.
Restaurant La Rade (1949 - 2005)
This extraordinary room on the first floor was part of the former La Rade restaurant. Decorator Henri Verbuecken brought in Japanese artists to do much of the decoration. The space is now embellished with authentic pieces from the time.
Image of The Japanese Room
His Masters Voice Voice record player (1928)
Sponsored by the RBSA and the Port of Antwerp, this room was inaugurated by the Alderman for the Port of Antwerp, Marc Van Peel, on November 26th 2011.
The Belgian shipowner Red Star Line was founded in 1872 largely with American capital. Until 1883 its first offices were located on the Jordaenskaai (more or less where the restaurant Dock’s Café now stands). Between 1873 and 1934 the shipowner transported some 2.4 million passengers, most of them poor emigrants, to the United States of America (New York, Philadelphia, Boston) and Canada (Halifax). Fewer than ten percent of the emigrants were of Belgian nationality.
Eugeen Van Mieghem was the artistic witness of this mass European migration. His rare works on the subject are now shown all over the world.
On display in the Red Star Line treasure house are memorabilia belonging to the shipping company, including menus, a shell porcelain dinner service, silver tobacco boxes and cutlery, posters, postcards, waybills and a deckchair. The pièce de résistance has to be His Master’s Voice record player dating from 1928 with the original 78 rpm records of “Belgenland II” to which the first-class passengers danced during the 1928-1929 World Cruise.
This room on the second floor comprises an interesting collection of waybills signed by Edouard Moretus de Bouchout (1804-1880) who was the last administrator of the Plantin-Moretus printing company. He inherited the printing works in 1865 but ceased trading and in 1876 sold the business to the City of Antwerp. The following year the historical complex opened as a museum.
The collection of bills of lading filled in by hand show how, after closing down the business, the count sold off valuable old books from his printing works and shipped them in crates all over the world (using among other companies the Antwerp-based Red Star Line).
This extraordinary collection of waybills was a gift from the Van Mieghem Foundation to the RBSA.
Letter by Emile Moretus de Bouchout
From this room on the second floor (with a mesmerizing view of the River Scheldt, the Steen and the roads), Gustave Albrecht observed the thousands of panic-stricken Antwerp citizens, including the Van Mieghem family, who on October 7th, 8th and 9th 1914 fled the city and the advancing German army.
Some 25 war works by the artist are now on show in this space, including the artist’s largest war drawing, the monumental Refugees.
Image of the emigrants
This museum-like space in eclectic style on the first floor was also the work of the decorator Henri Verbuecken. Masonic symbols were incorporated into the sumptuous decoration with Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts influences.
In the last section of the room are references to Venice (the riot of mosaics) and Constantinople (the oriel window with its magnificent stained glass).
The room consisting of three parts was listed by the historic buildings trust, Monumentenzorg. After the Second World War it was still used for lodge meetings.
Image of The Large Room
The Japanese Room
Red Star Line Treasure House
Edouard Moretus-Plantin Room
The Flemish Room
The Large Room
Eugeen Van Mieghem Museum
Eugeen Van Mieghem Museum & Foundation: Ernest van Dijckkaai 9, 2000 Antwerpen, België | T +32(0)3/211.03.30 | G +32(0)497/10.14.73 | E email@example.com
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