[ Ostend art trip ]

17 september 2020

tripping on art in Ostend City

Amsterdamstraat, Ostend

tripping on art in Ostend, prologue ~ the city

  • Ostend is the largest city on the Belgian Coast and its only truly year-round destination. along its wide white-sand beach is a spacious promenade surveyed by an interesting mix of midrise architecture atop cosy seafront cafes with glassed-in terraces. always an important strategic port, Ostend has a rich history of fame, fortune, famine and hardship. Ostend has a wealth of beautiful belle époque and art deco architecture scattered around its residential streets.

  • arty-farty.fun's opinion: *
    in the "Belle Epoque", Ostend was the queen of our seaside resorts. nowerdays the city lost most of its splendour, despite its potential for resurection. but politicians in the past seemed not to understand the why or the how. long ago, our second king, Leopold II, created a glorious place to chill. today, despite all its potential, Ostend is a terminal city with a rotten thermal palace.

Etienne's corona distance stick

tripping on art in Ostend, act 1 ~ the Mu.ZEE museum

  • Mu.ZEE exhibits, collects, manages, digitises and studies visual arts from the 19th century to the present day. the museum affiliates its unique collection of exclusive Belgian art with the international arts sector and reveals the links between modern and contemporary art.

  • arty-farty.fun's opinion: **
    a promise to discover Ensor and Spillaert in a museum with a nice permanent collection. sadly enough, the building is not at the level of a modern museum

Fifty years after the invention of animated film, I went looking for the mystery of hand-drawn moving images. It was nice to invent what already existed but searching for it cost me a lot of time!

Raoul Servais' first camera, 1946
Cigar box with Meccano pieces
Collectie Fonds Raoul Servais vzw

tripping on art in Ostend, act 2 ~ Raoul Servais wing @ Mu.ZEE

  • Raoul Servais' permanent wing @ Mu.ZEE: he is called the magician of Ostend. Raoul Servais is a visual artist, designer, draughtsman and above all a film-maker. his world is akin to a cinema full of poetry and mystery, a place where stories and legends find their way through the imagined time. Servais remains close to himself and shows us the world. the heroes in his films are street lamps, sirens or moths.

  • arty-farty.fun's opinion: ***
    Servais painted and drew, and was very active in graphics too, but from the beginning his heart was always in animation films. he developed the first animated film course in Europe. you feel his curiosity for new and hitherto unknown ways of creating imagery and atmosphere. a true star of the film industry.

Léon Spilliaert

The artist presents self at the side of Emile Verhaeren and Edmond Denian, the head together as a like-minded to Thunder Movement in which Spilliaert emphasizes how important the two men have been for his development a young artist.

Portret van Emile Verhaeren, 1917 
Portrait of Emile Verhaeren

 Litho on Japanese paper

Léon Spilliaert

Zelfportret met dubbelportret van Emile Verhaeren en portret van Edmond Deman, 1908 

Dryptent paper

tripping on art in Ostend, act 3 ~ Ensor & Spilliaert wing @ Mu.ZEE

  • TWO GREAT OSTEND MASTERS: James Ensor (1860–1949) grew up in a small coastal garrison town with a fishing port at its beating heart. a few decades later, Léon Spilliaert (1881-1946) was born in a fashionable seaside resort to which the beau monde came from inland to be entertained at the Casino and to stroll along the broad seafront promenade. Ostend, home to two great masters. Although Ensor and Spilliaert paintings are as different as 'night and day', both their oeuvres display a deep fascination with Ostend's light, its fishermen, its beach life and the rhythm of the sea.

  • arty-farty.fun's opinion: **
    a promise to discover Ensor and Spillaert in a museum with a nice permanent collection. sadly enough, the building is not at the level of a modern museum, and the exhibition turned out to be rather poor in exhibiting top paintings of both their hometown painters.

Jean Brusselmans Carnival, 1952

Oil on canvas

Carnival' was painted towards the end of Jean Brusselmans' artistic career. In this work, the artist leaves quiet patterns behind and breathes new life into the tightly defined forms that are characteristic of his earlier paintings. As always, Brusselmans was depicting his daily surroundings, although the tranquil people and objects now make way for an altogether more playful scene and jollier characters. He introduces thick layers of paint and dynamic figures that overlap one another. While the canvas bears witness to a certain exuberance that suits the carnival theme, this is also what makes it an atypical work in his oeuvre.

Coll. Mu.ZEE, acquired by the City of Ostend in 1980

tripping on art in Ostend, act 4 ~ the permanent collection @ Mu.ZEE

  • Since its establishment in 2008, Mu.ZEE vzw has managed the collections of the province of West Flanders and the city of Ostend. the museum collection, comprising more than 8000 works of art, provides an overview of Belgian visual art from 1830 until the present day. artists such as James Ensor, Léon Spilliaert and Constant Permeke are well represented. in addition, there are important sub-collections of interwar artists, ensembles of artists working after World War II and from the 1980s and 1990s. thanks to an active purchase and donation policy, Mu.ZEE has been able to acquire a number of important works of art from contemporary artists.

  • arty-farty.fun's opinion: **
    the museum has a nice permanent collection. sadly enough, the building is not at the level of a modern museum.


Etienne & IJslandvaarder toasten met 'n Rodenbach.

tripping on art in Ostend, entracte ~ lunch @ brasserie Rubens

  • HOTEL - BRASSERIE RUBENS ~ all info @ www.hotelrubens.be : cozy two star family hotel with authentic brasserie, and 24 rooms with beautiful views of the marina. central location, only 10 min. from the train station, just in front of the marina and the beach.

  • arty-farty.fun's opinion: ****
    Brasserie Rubens: a brasserie with a unique character, reviving the DNA of good ol' Ostend. their CEO & cook, Marcel Desander, see fisherman in his previous life, offers a fresh, honest kitchen in a great & original atmosphere. for a Rodenbach and great Ostend shrimp croquettes or fish & chips with real mayonnaise. trust the boss.

45' Causerie ten huize van Herr Seele

tripping on art in Ostend, epilogue ~ causerie with the king of Ostend ~ Herr Seele

  • our visit to Herr Seele in his studio, and the following "causerie" made such an impression on the arty-farty collective that we dedicated a seperate page with the integral 45' causerie with the artist.

  • visit the Herr Seele page

  • arty-farty.fun's opinion: ****
    a painter artist, the Flemish godfather of the underground, together with Kamagurka. the draftsman of cowboy Henk: a picaresque surrealistic figure relating to an episodic style of fiction, dealing with the adventures of a rough and dishonest but appealing hero.