The Belgian self-portraits; example of the richness and international dimension of the Florentine collection

Numerous donations made over recent years have further enhanced the Uffizi collection with self-portraits by important late twentieth-century and contemporary Belgian artists. These have been generously offered by our Belgian friends, Nicole d’Huarte and Damien Wigny, enthusiastic connoisseurs of Tuscany and its art treasures. This is what led to the idea of a show of these recently-donated works (the self-portraits of Gaston Bertrand, Berlinde de Bruyckere, Wim Delvoye, Jan Fabre and Louis Van Lint) along with those of other Belgian artists already in the Gallery’s collection.

The exhibition fosters a comparison between the groups and schools that helped to make Belgian art a leading player in the renewal of languages and trends from the middle of the nineteenth century on.

The contributions of academics such as Anne Adriaens-Pannier, Nicole d’Huarte, Michael Palmer and Damien Wigny, with their profound knowledge of Belgian art, has made it possible to reconstruct in the catalogue a panorama rich in ferment and innovation, while also offering a glance towards the future of Belgian art. Many self-portraits that are stored in the repositories for reasons of space, are on show, arranged along a chronological itinerary which reconstructs the variety of stylistic orientations that range from the composure of the academic approach to the freer and sometimes crude expressions of more recent times.

Therefore, in view of the cultural relations that have always linked Belgium and Italy, the show represents a renewed expression of reciprocal friendship and a sharing of the values of art.

James Sidney Ensor (Ostenda, Belgio 1860 – 1949), Autoritratto di James Sidney Ensor,  1879, olio su tela. Firenze, Galleria degli Uffizi, Depositi Stevens Leopold (Bruxelles 1823 – Parigi 1906), Autoritratto di Stevens Leopold,  1910 ca., olio su cartone. Firenze, Galleria degli Uffizi, DepositiBerlinde de Bruyckere (Grand, Belgio 1964), Autoritratto di Berlinde de Bruyckere,  sec. XXI secolo, cera/ resina/ legno/ vetro. Firenze, Galleria degli Uffizi, DepositiMarie Collart Henrotin (Bruxelles 1842 – Nebida, Sardegna 1911), Autoritratto di  Marie Collart Henrotin, 1904 ca., olio su tela. Firenze, Galleria degli Uffizi, DepositiEmile Claus (Waregem, Belgio 1849 - Astene, Deinze, Belgio 1924, Autoritratto di  Emile Claus, 1913-1914, olio su tela. Firenze, Galleria degli Uffizi, DepositiWim Delvoye (Wervik, Belgio 1965), Autoritratto di Wim Delvoye "Lick (E.A.)", sec.  XX secolo (2001), C-print, lastra radiografica. Firenze, Galleria degli Uffizi, DepositiJan Fabre (Anversa, Belgio 1958), Autoritratto di Jan Fabre come Chapter VIII, sec.  XX/ XXI secolo, bronzo. Firenze, Galleria degli Uffizi, DepositiFerdinand Khnopff (Grembergen, Dendermonde, Belgio 1858 - Regione di BruxellesCapitale, Belgio 1921), Autoritratto di Ferdinand Khnopff, pastello su cartone. Firenze,  Galleria degli Uffizi, Depositi


The Belgian self-portraits of the Uffizi. From the nineteenth century to the present

San Pier Scheraggio Room, Uffizi Gallery, Florence

9 June – 5 July 2014

Exhibition curated by Giovanna Giusti

Exhibition catalogue published by Giunti Editore (available only in Italian)