Photo : Anvers, Musée Plantin-Moretus Unesco, Patrimoine mondial

Since the opening of the Eugeen Van Mieghem Museum in 1993, the artist’s work has been rediscovered internationally. A recent Théophile Alexandre Steinlen retrospective at the Picasso Museum in Barcelona included no less than seven of Van Mieghem’s paintings.

The Red Star Line Museum pays a tribute to this great Antwerp painter

Olieverf Havenvrouwen - Eugeen Van Mieghem - Photo VisitFlanders New York

Antwerp painter Eugeen Van Mieghem (1875-1930) grew up in the heart of the old port. His parents had a cafe right next to the Red Star Line warehouses. Looking out of his window and wandering around the area, Van Mieghem saw thousands of emigrants leaving for the New World: East European men, women and children – principally Russian and Polish Jews – with a few paltry possessions on their back. He illustrated them in a moving way, creating a vast body of work and a truly unique time capsule. Or as The Art Tribune put it in a recent article:

“The rhythm of his compositions is established by the vertical lines of the cranes and masts, creak with their metallic colors and allow glimpses of monumental vessels which invade the spectator’s space through black fog or remain imprisoned in dry dock. At one fell swoop, he painted the lower classes at a time when the great bourgeoisie, potential patrons, rarely appreciated this type of subject or genre.”

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