Eddy Ape performs at Villa Empain for queer networking association

Visite Particulière – the LGBTQIA+ cultural program association of Brussels – hosted its most recent event at Villa Empain.

The event was an opportunity to experience the current exhibition showcased at Villa Empain – Portrait of a Lady.

As well as exploring the exhibition, attendees were treated to poolside cocktails and canapés, with a welcome by Nawal Ben Hamou , Secretary of State for Equal Opportunities for the Brussels-Capital Region.

A featured performance at the event was provided by Eddy Ape.

The exhibition: Portrait of a Lady

From prehistoric times onwards, and echoing different iconographic codes according to the era, the representation of women is omnipresent in the history of art. Whether in religious or profane contexts, the portrayal of women, their faces or their bodies, has inspired the greatest artists throughout the world.

Portrait of a Lady brings together eighty-five works by major artists around this recurring motif and its variations. Covering artistic creation from the Palaeolithic era to contemporary art, the exhibition invites the public to explore the feelings and universal representations that the female portrait inspires.

The exhibition circuit pursues five themes, entitled respectively Originally, Women in an interior, Nude, model, muse, Portraits and self-portraits and The question of gender.

The exhibition features a dialogue between the portraits produced by modern Belgian artists like James Ensor, Constant Permeke, Paul Delvaux, Léon and Gustave de Smet and Oscar Jespers, and the works of modern European artists such as Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and Edgar Degas.

Portrait of a Lady runs until 4 September at Villa Empain

What’s the history of Villa Empain?

One of the cultural jewels to discover in Brussels is the Villa Empain, an Art Deco masterpiece.

Built in 1930 as a private mansion for Baron Louis Empain – who was then 21 years old – Villa Empain was designed by the Swiss architect, Michel Polak.

At the time that it was built, Villa Empain was the spectacular centrepiece of a 55-acre estate.

Delivering on the Baron’s brief, Polak created a modern and luxurious home that embodied the best of the Art Deco era.

The Baron lived at Villa Emapin for only a few years, before donating it to the Belgian State in 1937.

During World War II, the villa was occupied by the German army, and then became the embassy of the Soviet Union before passing into private ownership.

In 2001, the villa was added to the architectural heritage list of Brussels. However, by then, Villa Empain was a derelict house – unoccupied and subjected to vandalism.

It was the Boghossian Foundation that stepped in to save Villa Empain, acquiring the building in 2008.

The Boghossian family are jewellers. Their origins are in Armenia, but they came to Brussels from Lebanon. Created in 1992, the Boghossian Foundation finances social, educational and artistic projects in Belgium, Lebanon, and Armenia.

After renovating and restoring the property, the Boghossian Foundation adopted Villa Empain as it headquarters.

The villa now hosts a year-round programme of exhibitions, concerts, performances, screenings, and workshops.