From fine chocolate tastings, diamond polishing shows at the Diamantmuseum, rides on horse-drawn carriages, to intimate boat trips on the canal, the picturesque city of Bruges hosts a wide array of unique cultural sights and one-of-a-kind, leisurely activities. For those of you who enjoy the finer things in life, hidden and juxtaposed among the charming Renaissance buildings, waffles and lace shops are also some of the world’s most exquisite contemporary art galleries. The nearby cities of Ghent and Knokke on the other hand host fantastic contemporary art galleries, which can be paired to contrast with a visit to the beautiful medieval 12th century castle in Ghent, dinner in PatersholI, the beach or nightlife in Knokke, or sights such as the Ghent Cathedral. In this article, we present the various contemporary art galleries you might want to visit on your luxury visit to the incredible in and around Bruges.
Absolute Art Gallery
In 2000, Yoeri, Miguel and Yvan De Backer founded Absolute Art Gallery, which prides itself on representing young, renowned, international and Belgian artists. The gallery actually has four different locations in Belgium, but the gallery in Bruges offers visitors a particular charm which arguably surpasses the others–it faces one of the oldest canals, Dijver, in the center of the medieval town and in close vicinity to the Groeninge and Gruuthuse museum.
A wide range of contemporary art can be spotted here–figurative and abstract paintings, photography and even sculptures. Approximately thirty-five artists are represented by the gallery, and each artist has his or her own unique niche, and the works of excellent artists such as Mauro Perucchetti, Carlos Mata, Christine Comym, Peter Zuur, Wim Ricourt are exhibited there. The solo shows, group exhibitions, and special events provide a fresh and ever-changing environment.
The beautiful, warm, and welcoming atmosphere at all times makes this gallery a particular gem, and it’s one of the few galleries practically always open to the public six days a week. It’s open from 11 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. and closed only on Wednesdays.
The gallery has regularly exhibited over the years in various art fairs such as Yia Young International Art Fair in Paris, Scope Art Fair in Basel, Raw Art Fair in Rotterdam, Pan Art Fair in Amsterdam, and Art Paris Art Fair, so on the international level, Absolute Art Gallery sits with some of the best.
The highly professional and attentive team is there to assist visitors, buyers and collectors from all over the world. The pieces of art on sale, which are for both the beginner and more experienced collector, are on offer from about €2,500 or more. There is also a large collection of books on art which can be bought at your visit.
Absolute Art Gallery, Dijver 4-5, Bruges, Belgium, +32 50 49 10 12
Museum Gallery Xpo Salvador Dalí
The Museum Gallery Xpo Salvador Dalí in Bruges is an exclusive opportunity to view the artist’s outstanding collection of sculptures and famous works of art and get a taste for the artist’s flamboyant personality.
Hosted in a medieval hall designed by the iconic Barron Saint Mythelfinger, the space has been transformed into a Dalí-esque showroom filled with gold, mother-of-pearl and bright pink interiors, typifying the Spanish artist’s ‘’love of everything that is gilded and excessive’’. This one-of-a-kind space is a special and unforgettable place to relax and enjoy the quirky world of Dalí.
Belfort, Markt 7, 8000, Bruges, Belgium
44 Gallery exhibits exceptional photography of young, upcoming and established European artists with a focus on talented Belgian artists. Some of the biggest names in contemporary photography are on sale, including works of Titus Simoens, Renzo de Ceuster, Paul D’haese, Patrick Bardyn and Stephanie Yoshiwara. All the works are signed and are limited editions.
The gallery’s aim is to promote unconventional, thought-provoking, and sometimes uncomfortable photography which questions today’s culture and society. Intellectually stimulating, the selected works are delightfully riveting and the experience is a wonderful addition to the cultural sites of the city.
There are photographs displayed to suit everyone’s taste, and for the beginner collector or individual wishing to take home an intriguing souvenir, there are also very affordable unique limited edition works in smaller sizes on sale from a price point of €150 to €300.
44 Gallery, Genthof 44, Bruges, Belgium, +32 489 55 26 63
Guy Pieters Gallery
Guy Pieters Gallery in the swanky town of Knokke home to staple museums, art galleries, gastronomical experiences and unusual shops, is one of the most magnificent galleries in the area and arguably one of the best in the world.
Guy Pieters was born in the small yet artistic village of Sint-Martens-Latem, the hub of Flemish expressionism, and is today one of the world’s leading gallerists. The gallery showcases Post-War and contemporary art, with its success largely determined by Guy’s life-long relationships with the artists. With New Realism and Pop Art alongside emerging artists, Guy Pieters Gallery has a reputation that exceeds beyond Belgium. His gallery is exhibiting at BRAFA Art Fair and is a regular at the best art fairs in the world, among others the Biennale in Venice.
Some of the artists displayed at the gallery are Karel Appel, Christo & Jeanne-Claude, Robert Indiano, James Rosenquist, and many others. Over the years, Guy Pieters has edited several books, including the catalogue raisonné of Yves Klein.
For a world-class and unforgettable experience, Guy Pieters Gallery is a venue that you must visit.
Albertplein 15BE-8300 Knokke-Heist, +32 (0)50 80 00 10
Gallery Ganache is a place where visitors can relax, have a coffee and a chocolate after visiting other sites, and enjoy the art. The charming gallery started as a chocolatier and now exhibits world-class art for visitors to enjoy. Their philosophy is that art is for everybody–it’s an open and warm space located in the historical center of Ghent next to the Sint Bavo Cathedral.
The art exhibited in this lovely gallery is of new, upcoming artists as well as well-known artists of Belgium and international origin, and the price point of the spectacular works on display start from about €1,500 to €5,000, although some small sculptures can be obtained from €300 – €500.
Limburgstraat 14, 9000 Gent, Belgium +32 499 97 61 48
Art Gallery Groeninge – Paul Van Hecke
Born in Bruges in March 1954, Paul Van Hecke is a unique artist and the gallery is unlike any other in the city. After studying Art at Sint-Lucas Institute in Ghent, Paul went on a romantic, nostalgic journey to the East in search of deeper meanings and an understanding of his inner self, meeting with various masters in India and the Himalayas. It is through his travels and deep meditation sessions that he began to realise a new meaning in colors, and it was from here his unique style developed. Paul returned from the East and opened his gallery and atelier in 1999, and from thereon in his space has become a staple of Bruges’ contemporary art scene.
Van Hecke’s paintings display a unique sense of conscious color unique to the city and are in themselves objects of healing. For a burst of color, Art Gallery Groeninge is a must-see.
Art Gallery Groeninge, Nieuwe Gentweg 27, Bruges, Belgium, +32 50 3418 36
source: Natalie Maxted, London