« The Belgian Collector » at the BRAFA

4th of November 2014

Breaking with its tradition of inviting a museum or other cultural institution, this year the BRAFA has decided to honour “The Belgian Collector”, paying tribute to the Belgian collectors who safeguard and hand down our heritage and who have loyally supported the BRAFA since its inception.

The BRAFA has therefore asked the King Baudouin Foundation to select and present works from private collections that demonstrate the diversity and quality of collections in Belgium. Visitors will have the opportunity to discover old and modern paintings, silverware, tribal art, decorative art and old drawings, each of which is a fine example in its field and has never before, or only rarely, been exhibited. The works on show are ambassadors for some ten collections, each of which has been assembled with passion as well as great commitment to our heritage.

The Foundation has selected collections whose owners expressed a particular desire for them to be left in total or partial perpetuity, in museums or elsewhere, in Belgium or abroad.

The collector has always cared about our heritage. Indeed, from the 19th century, collectors were key actors in saving and handing down our heritage and many public collections were born out of a private donation. Public bodies carried on the tradition, though mainly with an educational role in mind. From this point in time, the development of two types of collections could therefore be observed: the one public, with more of a scientific research objective, and the second private, reflecting the life and personality of the collector. These days, we can observe a certain rapprochement between these two types of collection as public collections turn increasingly to the private collector, sometimes temporarily, sometimes definitively, with a view to completing the story they wish to tell.

BRAFA and the King Baudouin Foundation would like to express their grateful thanks to the collectors who have agreed to participate in this project. Belgium is often described as a country of collectors and it is hoped that the presentation created by the King Baudouin Foundation at BRAFA will offer visitors to the fair a moment of special pleasure and perhaps also the inspiration to start their own collection.