The three works show scenes that really marked the people of Verviers during the German occupation of World War I. Two of the paintings represent scenes of replenishing supplies, one in the Rue du Collège, in front of the former Pathé cinema, and the other, more turbulent, at the Gare de l’Ouest. The third painting depicts the occupying Germans moving into the buildings of the Harmonie. The characters were painted from life and treated like real portraits. At the time they were painted, some of the people would certainly have recognized themselves. Funcken himself features in two of the paintings: at the Gare de l’Ouest, holding a painting under his arm, and in front of the Harmonie, carrying pots of paint.
Acquired by the Summa Villa Fund, these three paintings will be exhibited in the Hôtel de Biolley. This town house, which is emblematic for the town of Verviers, will house the collection of the Fine Arts Museum once its restoration has been completed, foreseen for 2017-2018. The Hôtel de Biolley is one of the most impressive buildings in Verviers and testifies to the town’s economic importance during the 19th century. In 1853 it was the location for the meeting ceremony held to introduce the future King Leopold II and his fiancée Marie-Henriette.
The Summa Villa Fund, managed by the King Baudouin Foundation, has as its objective to safeguard the Hôtel de Biolley and to keep for posterity Verviers’ significant 18th and 19th century moveable heritage.