The Museum of Fine Arts (MSK) is marking its 225th anniversary in 2022. This will be celebrated with a festive year starting with an exhibition on Albert Baertsoen (1866-1922), one of the great Belgian artists of the fin de siècle. MSK will put this painter, pastellist and graphic artist in the spotlight in collaboration with Ghent University.

Albert Baertsoen was born into a Ghent working-class family. He was practically self-taught and became one of the most important artists in the Belgian and international art scene of the fin de siècle. He had a blitz career. He was only 22 years old when he won the gold medal at the Antwerp Salon in 1888. Afterwards, he built an impressive network of art connoisseurs, collectors and colleagues. His contemporaries called Baertsoen ‘le peintre de Gand’ (the painter of Ghent) because of his remarkable love for Ghent, a city he depicted often in his work. You can still recognise many contemporary city scapes in his work. Baertsoen became an appreciated painter of landscapes of the Scheldt region, the North Sea and the hinterland, and also portrayed the industrial landscapes of Liège.

Albert Baertsoen’s success extended beyond Belgium’s borders. At the turn of the 20th century, he was one of the most internationally renowned Belgian artists (his work was, for example, exhibited at the Venice Biennale and at the Vienna Secession). He owed his international success to, among other things, his large network, his distinctive voice and his impressionistic style. 

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