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A look on the Antwerp Belle Epoque. A painted document by Louis Van Engelen.

Lot 36, sale 'Romantic & Modern Masters', March 233, est. 20/30000 euros



The posh 'Belvedère' cafe on the left bank of the river Schelde was busy gathering place on any sunday afternoon for the Antwerp upper class. Well educated gentlemen and richly dresses women met on the terrace were in this case a blind guitar player offered some welcome distraction. The painter and his wife are depicted in the left foreground. The then very famous Antwerp composer Peter Benoit, who lent his name to the actual title of this masterpiece, is seen siting with his straw hat left from tghe lady with the greyhoud on the foreground. In fact, this painting is a real 'who's who' from the classic Antwerp art scene at that time. We see Rik Schaeffels, Pite Van Engelen, Jan Van Beers a.o. The cafe was sadly destroyed during the first World War. This painting therefore serves as a well treasured memory of bygone days, when all was 'luxe et volupté'. The painting finally sold for 92000 euros. 


                                                                              Postkaarten met foto van ’Le Belvedère’ op de Antwerpse linkeroever*Postcards of the falmous cafe 'Belvedère'


On sunday, just after noon, there was a sale of comics with a near mint copy of 'Rikki en Wiske' (lot 49) selling for 6000 euros and a set of two handmade puppets depicting Piet Pienter and Bert Bibber (lot 247) climbing up to a smashing 5500 euros. 

The Art and Antiques sale gave us, among other treasures, a beautiful canvas by Eugeen Van Mieghem, 'At the docks', leaving the block for a well earned 17000 euros.  'A courtly play from the 15th century' by the former director of the Royal Museum in Antwerp, Albrecht De Vriendt, sold for 9000 euros. 

March 25 brought a varied 'Works on Paper' sale. The great conceptual artist James Lee Byars had three pieces that were very much wanted by an international audience, both on the telephone and online. The lots 1549 – 1550 – 1551 sold resp. for 3800, 3600 and 3000 euros. The great Koen van den Broek wrapped up the sale with two small recent drawings, one made earlier this year in Cuba (lot 1592) which sold to a young collector for 2600 euros. 

The great avant garde poet Paul van Ostaijen was present with a near immaculate copy of his rightly famous 'Bezette Stad' (lot 1160), selling for a well deserved 3600 euros. Dating from the same period was a complete set of the second run of the avant garde review 'Het Overzicht' with covers by great artists such as Moholy-Nagy, Delaunais, Jozef Peeters, Willink. These issues sold  between 850 and 1500 euros each.