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Art and culture open a door to a world full of imagination and offer a welcome diversion during this difficult period. Although Train World is temporarily closed, we would like to share with you our temporary exhibition dedicated to Paul Delvaux. We invite you to immerse yourself virtually in the poetic and mysterious universe of the surrealist master by following the course of the exhibition .

Camille Brasseur, curator of this exhibition, will be your guide.

#MuseumAtHome      #TrainWorldAtHome

The exhibition tour is based on stops. The little girl in the red dress acts as the main guide. The itinerary begins in the room next to the concourse, a genuine showcase within a showcase. A number of the artist’s paintings, drawings and personal items (scale models, railway cap, palettes and brushes, etc.) are displayed in the hushed atmosphere of this room.

 

From the 1920s to the 1970s, Delvaux’ works on paper reveal the importance he attached to railways, as he drew trains, coaches, wagons and vans. Among these, he was particularly drawn to the goods van type Flamme. As a nod to this fact, an original railway wagon was placed in front of the museum on Place Princesse Élisabeth.

 

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Inside Train World, the exhibition of Delvaux’ works has found a place within the museum’s breathtaking scenography.

 

In Hall 1, facing the impressive steam engines, two paintings from the 1920s occupy a prime position. Between 1920 and 1922, Delvaux regularly visited the Brussels-Luxembourg station to draw the tracks and working railwaymen. He was so intent on conveying the feeling of exaltation brought on by these “railway landscapes” that he produced work associated with post-impressionism.

 

                  
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As a counterpoint, Les Trois Lampes (1964) hangs on an isolated picture rail. This much later work shows how Delvaux managed to appropriate this universe and merge it fully with his own.

 

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As visitors enter the attic, time seems to stand still. This space contains a number of artefacts which bear witness to the collective memory of the railway. Two works by the artist have been inserted here, which reveal the central place of women in Delvaux’ work. Whether alone or in numbers, they embody his fantasy of an ideal woman, preserved forever from the ravages of time.

 

            
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At the entrance to Hall 2, two major canvases have been brought together: Les Ombres and Chrysis. Although they were painted in the 1960s, Delvaux chose to include rolling stock which was no longer in use (a railway wagon with brake van in Les Ombres and a balloon-van in Chrysis). He combined elements he remembered with fondness.

 

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More works are displayed at the end of Hall 2. Three paintings showcase the small, old-fashioned stations so beloved of Delvaux. Using rear views of figures, the painter invites us to enter his world, particularly in the mysterious Gare Forestière.

 

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As you enter Hall 3, Delvaux’s face shape-shifts as it welcomes you on the gatekeeper’s house. L’Age de fer (1952) is displayed here: a languidly elegant Venus on a station platform in deepest darkness.

 

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Nearby is the commissioned work Delvaux produced for SNCB in 1963: 4 panels depicting railway subjects by day and by night.

 

Beyond the small flight of stairs on the right is Le Voyage Légendaire (1974), a preliminary version of a large painting intended for the casino at Chaudfontaine, inspired by the spa town’s railway station. Facing it stands a GCI passenger coach which Delvaux painted many times and of which he owned the scale model displayed in the first room of the exhibition.

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Further down, two preparatory sketches for Le Tunnel are displayed with the actual painting. They bear witness to the considerable amount of preparatory work required for a painting.

 

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The exhibition continues in Hall 4 with two large paintings. They contain combinations of the subjects Delvaux loved to paint: women, nature, trains, Jules Verne characters and impressively realistic architectural structures. Nevertheless, these startling associations generate a mysterious, poetic atmosphere, one of the cornerstones of Delvaux’ work.

 

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On the mezzanine, a series of photographs bears witness to Delvaux’ interest in railways. A slideshow demonstrates his attention to detail when depicting existing equipment and the reliability of his sources of inspiration.

 

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The exhibition ends with a new film made for the occasion. This portrait of the artist is a moving testimony to a personality who made his mark on far more than Belgian art history and is now internationally recognised.

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There's a lot more to explore in Train World.

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Photo credits:

1. Picture Flashbackx
2. Picture Bart Van Tricht
3. Paul Delvaux, Les cheminots à la Gare du Luxembourg, 1922, © Foundation Paul Delvaux, St. Idesbald, Belgium / SABAM 2020
4. Paul Delvaux, Gare du Luxembourg sous la neige, 1-1922, private collection, © Foundation Paul Delvaux, St. Idesbald, Belgium / SABAM 2020, © Vincent Everarts
5. Paul Delvaux, Les trois lampes, 1964, © Foundation Paul Delvaux, St. Idesbald, Belgium / SABAM 2020, © Vincent-Everarts
6. Paul Delvaux, Le dernier wagon, 1975 © Foundation Paul Delvaux, St. Idesbald, Belgium / SABAM 2020, © Vincent-Everarts
7. Paul Delvaux, Office du Soir, 1971, © Foundation Paul Delvaux, St. Idesbald, Belgium / SABAM 2020, © Vincent Everarts
8. Paul Delvaux, Les Ombres, 1-1965, private collection,  © Foundation Paul Delvaux, St. Idesbald, Belgium / SABAM 2020, © Vincent Everarts
9. Paul Delvaux, Chrysis, 1967, © Foundation Paul Delvaux, St. Idesbald, Belgium / SABAM 2020, © Vincent Everarts
10. Paul Delvaux, Faubourg, 1960, © Foundation Paul Delvaux, St. Idesbald, Belgium / SABAM 2020
11. Paul Delvaux, La petite place de la gare, 1963, © Foundation Paul Delvaux, St. Idesbald, Belgium / SABAM 2020, © Vincent Everarts
12. Paul Delvaux, La Gare forestière, 11-1960, St Idesbald, © Foundation Paul Delvaux, St. Idesbald, Belgium / SABAM 2020, © Vincent Everarts
13. Picture Flashbackx
14. Paul Delvaux, L'age de fer, 1951, © Foundation Paul Delvaux, St. Idesbald, Belgium / SABAM 2020
15. Paul Delvaux, Le Voyage légendaire, 1974, © Foundation Paul Delvaux, St. Idesbald, Belgium / SABAM 2020, © Vincent Everarts
16. Paul Delvaux, Le Tunnel, 4 -1978, © Foundation Paul Delvaux, St. Idesbald, Belgium / SABAM 2020, © Vincent Everarts
17. Paul Delvaux, Hommage à Jules Verne, 1971, © Foundation Paul Delvaux, St. Idesbald, Belgium / SABAM 2020, © Vincent Everarts
18. Paul Delvaux, Le sabbat, 1967, © Foundation Paul Delvaux, St. Idesbald, Belgium / SABAM 2020

19. Portrait of Paul Delvaux behind a GCI door, in his studio in Boitsfort, 1976, © Foundation Paul Delvaux, St. Idesbald, Belgium / SABAM 2020

 

Today we're open from 10:00 until 17:00 (last admission at 15:30).

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