A New Key: Modern Belgian Art from the Simon Collection
February 10–July 22, 2007
The Simon collection, housed in London and France, is the finest collection of modern Belgian art outside Belgium. Never displayed in North America, the fifty-three works in the exhibition include important paintings by René Magritte, James Ensor, Frits van den Berghe, Paul Delvaux, Theo van Rysselberghe, Emile Claus, Léon Spilliaert, Gustave de Smet, and Constant Permeke, among others. Although scholarship has focused on Paris, Berlin, Moscow, and New York as the centers of modern art, this exhibition challenges the canon by examining Belgium. It reveals how the history of modern art looks different when viewed from the vantage point of this “marginal” center—hence the title of the exhibition, A New Key.
Accompanying the exhibition is an illustrated catalogue edited by Jeffery
Howe and with essays by Claude Cernuschi, Jeffery Howe, Sura Levine, John J.
Michalczyk, Susan A. Michalczyk, and Katherine Nahum. Curated by Jeffery Howe,
A New Key: Modern Belgian Art from the Simon Collection has been organized
by the McMullen Museum. The exhibition has been underwritten by Boston College
with major support from SV Life Sciences and the Patrons of the McMullen Museum.
Additional support has been provided by the Kingdom of Belgium and the Society
of Belgium. This exhibition is also supported by an indemnity from the Federal
Council on the Arts and Humanities.
More on @BC
Slide show with commentary: Jeff Howe
discusses works that exemplify the themes of the show: landscape and village
life, work, still lifes, the
human figure, the horror of World War I, and the “fantastic and carnivalesque”–themes
that have roots in Flemish art dating back to the elder Pieter Breughel in
the 16th century. See the slideshow at @BC
New recordings of lost music: Last summer, while conducting research in Europe for the McMullen Museum’s exhibit of modern Belgian art (which opened in February), Professor Jeffery Howe came upon a trove of sheet music by Belgian composers, some illustrated by Renee Magritte, whose paintings are included in the McMullen exhibit. Howe brought copies of the music home and presented them to Sebastian Bonaiuto, the University’s director of bands. Read more and listen to the music at @BC