Sculpture Journal

An ephemeral open-air sculpture museum: ten temporary monuments for the festive return of the Belgian royal family to Brussels, November 1918

Sculpture Journal (2017), 26, (3), 321–348.

Abstract

This article has a series of ten temporary monuments erected in Brussels in November 1918 as its subject. The series, forming a trajectory throughout the city, included sculptures by Jules Lagae, Charles Samuel, Philippe Wolfers, Jacques Marin, Louis Mascré, Léandre Grandmoulin, Joseph François Van Hamme, George Vande Voorde, Marquis Jean de Pouilly and Guillaume Charlier. Erected barely a fortnight after the Armistice, not only their scale and sculptural endeavour, but also the fact they were the result of an official commission makes this ensemble exceptional. We first assess the genesis, reception and afterlife of these monuments against the background of the immediate post-war era. Next, we argue that the concept of the city as a democratic open-air sculpture museum, already much in vogue in Brussels in the Belle Époque, as well as existing traditions of ephemeral public sculpture both before and during the war, contributed to this unique initiative.

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Details

Author details

Engelen, Leen

Sterckx, Marjan