Best-known for its rosta of Flemish Primitive painters such Jan van Eyck, Hans Memling and Hugo van der Goes, Bruges is a hive of activity for modern art, as Gina Baksa discovered. Escape the medieval tryptychs with a visit to one of these 10 modern art galleries in the centre of Bruges.
Absolute Art Gallery
Dijver 4 | +32 32 50 49 10 12 | absoluteartgallery.com | 11am to 6pm; Thurs to Mon
A beautiful minimalist space with regular exhibitions featuring some of the gallery’s 32 artists, including Julian Opie, Marc Lagrange, and local artist Christine Comyn. Latest exhibition is Nick Gentry’s Memoryscapes, on until 26 April. A Central St Martin’s graduate, Gentry creates portraits combining obsolete media formats such as cassettes, floppy discs, VHS tapes and Polaroids as a metaphor for the way humankind interacts with technology.
Galerij Koen Broes
Simon Stevinplein 12 | broes.be |+ 32 50 33 37 74 | Tues to Sat: 10am to 12; 1.30-6pm
Specialises in graphic art on paper from contemporary artists, owners Koen and Carine Broes recognise the inherent craftsmanship behind each technique. You’ll find everything from aquatinting, to lithography via gouache and drypoint. Their focus is not on big names: “We prefer to seek out artists who are not yet demi-gods, but who make no concessions in terms of technical quality and radiance” Framing service available as well as advice on collecting. Works can be shown in your own home.
callebert.be | Wollestraat 25 | +32 50 33 50 61 | Daily: 10am to 12noon; 2pm to 6pm (except Mondays 2pm to 6pm; Sundays 3pm to 6pm)
More retail space than art gallery, Callebert began life in Bruges in 1948 selling luxury tableware and gifts. Today, its premises are a sophisticated Aladdin’s Cave of home design (think tableware, ceramics, homeware, furniture, clothing, gifts and more) in a central Bruges location. Their own art gallery, Art O Nivo is situated on the first floor. A perfect store to buy gifts; some products are also available to purchase via their online shop.
Art O Nivo
Wollestraat 25, 1st floor | +32 51 24 33 88 | artonivo.be
Mon to Sat; 2 to 6pm. Closed Sundays. At the back of Callebert Design.
Glass, sculptures, ceramics, textiles, photography, graphics and architecture:
The website needs updating but still worth a look. A new café and terrace is planned for opening in July this year.
44gallery.be | +32 489 552 663 | Genthof 44 | Sat and Sun 2pm to 6pm
Current exhibition: 18 April to 10 May.
Located north of the Markt, 44 Gallery’s (run by Luc Rabaey and Veerle De Sutter) latest exhibition is a Herman van den Boom retrospective featuring a selection of the photographer’s work taken in the USA in the Seventies. With limited edition prints for sale, the gallery also represents the likes of Julie Van Der Vaart and Titus Simoens.
Museum Gallery Xpo Salvador Dali
Belfort, Markt 7 | +32 50 33 83 44 | dali-interart.be | Daily 10am-6pm
A permanent exhibition (rotating) curated by dealers Interart, containing graphic art and some sculptures from the moustachioed one’s eclectic oeuvre. The large gallery/showroom space at the centrally located Belfry was once a medieval hall now transformed into a Dali-fest with gold, mother-of-pearl and pink colours, designed by the amusingly monikered Barron Saint Mythelfinger. Some original prints are for sale, ask at reception.
Jacquemine art Gallery (+ luxury guesthouse)
Hoogstraat 34 | +32 478 37 56 96 | jacquemine.be
Combining an art gallery and a listed guesthouse, well-travelled couple Pavel and Annie welcome you into their beautiful home (named after the first-recorded owner Jacnquemine De Graevbe 1532) and his studio. Pavel’s abstract art, the ‘exploration of non-physical realities’ will appeal to those who enjoy fantasy and dream landscapes of the imagination. The elegant, 13th-century house offers two ensuite luxury guestrooms with views over a delightful garden across to the Groenerei canal.
Dijver 14 | art-14.com | Thurs to Sun 2pm to 6.30pm
Until 10 May: Solo exhibition with the French painter Etien Gros. An intriguing concept installation with polyurethane 3-D torsos, X-rays and digital photography. Situated between the Church of Our Lady and the Groeningemuseum, Art 14 represents 12 artists including Milan Chabera, Jesus Curia, Lieven Demunter, Fons Bemelmans and Jacek Hazuka.
Svein Konigen Studio Gallery
Korte Vuldersstraat 17 | koningen.net | +32 486 46 94 86 | Visits by appointment
Norwegian by birth, abstract expressionist artist Konigen grew up in Amsterdam and Australia and has been living and painting successfully in Bruges for the past 10 years. Re-locating to London this summer – “I need new inspiration” – he is currently offering discounts on some of his paintings.
“I never really know exactly what form the finished painting will take,” he says about his own creative process. “I simply allow my instinct to guide my hands and draw inspiration from the creative process. My passions, the place I live in, the surrounding environment and my music are all external factors that influence my work.”
Konigen is re-locating to London this summer so call him
Art Gallery Groeninge: Paul Van Hecke
Nieuwe Gentweg 27 | +32 50 34 18 36 | paul-van-hecke-art.be
Bruges-born Van Hecke’s travels in the Himalayas and exposure to Eastern philosophy as a young man had a life-changing effect, resulting in the style of painting he favours today. Meditative, healing and transformative, his art reflects the human connection with spirit and our heartfelt desire to live with an awakened consciousness.
Link for some image ideas:
pick one and I will ask him for a jpeg so it stretches across the page enough.