Imagine an art gallery where nothing is for sale and the art is not part of a museum collection. You are welcomed inside and encouraged to sit on the furniture, relax and take your time enjoying the art as you would in a comfortable home. This is the concept behind Maison Particulière.
Maison Particulière is a beautiful home in the Châtelain neighbourhood which serves one important purpose – to share art, from private collections, with the public.
As an art-lover and an admirer of contemporary art in particular, I jumped at the chance to visit this unique, non-profit, gallery.
I was greeted by the lovely and passionate director, Carole Schuermans, who led me inside this inviting space and shared the gallery’s history and concept with me, as we relaxed on one of the comfortable sofas.
Maison Particulière is the creation of French couple, Myriam and Amaury de Solages. They are passionate art collectors who dreamed of sharing their collection with the public in a welcoming space. They found that space in Châtelain and, two years ago, Maison Particulière was born.
Instead of hiring exhibition curators, the de Solages invited other art collectors to join them in sharing their art. Each collector chooses his own pieces relating to a particular theme, thus interpreting what that theme means to him.
The collector’s pieces hang together in one room, giving a distinct sense of the personality of the collector and her collection. The current exhibition, Inner Journeys, offers the collectors a chance to be truly introspective about their art choices.
In addition to the collectors, one featured artist is also asked to share works pertaining to the theme. Currently that artist is Cris Brodahl, from Ghent, whose paintings are based on collages she creates from magazines. Her surreal works certainly set the tone of Inner Journeys.
This is not your typical cold, sterile gallery. Maison Particulière exhibits art as if it was hanging in a beautiful home, demonstrating how it is possible to live with contemporary art in a comfortable and informal way.
You won’t find blocks of text on the walls, telling you what to think about each piece. In fact, you won’t even find the name of the artist hanging near the piece. This information is available in books placed in each room, if you desire to learn more. You are urged to discover and enjoy the works on your own terms first, another distinct difference from a traditional art gallery or museum.
The thing that struck me most about Maison Particulière is how non-confrontational the art feels here. Contemporary art, in particular, can be difficult for people to connect with. Even when you appreciate a piece, it can be difficult to imagine living with it in your home. Here, you can actually see how contemporary art pieces could fit into your home and your life, (if you have enough money to afford them that is.)
Maison Particulière’s exhibition space spans three floors and includes a lovely garden, a cosy library and a striking glass elevator, making the entire space accessible.
The gallery is not for profit and admission and membership fees go directly to maintaining the space and its exhibitions. Admission to the exhibition is 10€ or free for members. Membership is 50€ annually.
The current exhibition, Inner Journeys, runs until June 30th. The gallery closes for the summer but will re-open in the fall with an exhibition by young collectors. Visit their website for opening times.
Rue du Châtelain, 49
B – 1050 Brussels