To mark the opening of the Centre Keramis, the new ceramics museum in La Louvière, a large part of the King Baudouin Foundation’ Catteau Collection has returned to its birthplace. The museum was inaugurated on 9 May 2015 on the site of the Boch Keramis factory’s three historic coal-fired kilns.
The Foundation’s vase collection includes over 800 art deco vases created by Charles Catteau and made by the Boch Keramis factory in La Louvière between 1907 and 1950. Collected by Marcel Stal and Claire De Pauw and donated to the Foundation in 1999, this collection can be considered as the reference collection of the work of Charles Catteau, one of the greatest art deco vase designers.
At the time of the donation, and by common agreement with the donor Claire DePauw, the vase collection had been entrusted to the Royal Museums of Art and History in Brussels (MRAH). Madame De Pauw had nevertheless expressed her wish that the collection might one day be exhibited in the new museum in La Louvière.
The sheer size of the Stal-De Pauw collection enables Catteau’s output to be given prominence in two different places. Thus, the vases permanently exhibited at the MRAH can remain there. The Centre Keramis on the other hand will show some fifteen vases as part of its permanent collection. Around six hundred other vases are exhibited in the factory’s old workshop, which has been transformed into a storeroom that is permanently open to the public. Here the visitor can also learn more about the techniques of production and the social history of the factory. The selection of vases exhibited will change every six months so as to enable the various aspects of this amazing collection to be shown.