EXHIBITION: Georges Houtstont and the ornamental craze of the Belle Epoque  Share

From Monday 31 May to Friday 1 October, urban.brussels and scenographer Sugiberry are transforming the museum’s atrium into the studio of the ornamentalist Georges Houtstont (1832-1912). This French artist worked on the interior decoration of the museum building, which at the time housed the bank Union du Crédit de Bruxelles, as well as on the Governor’s Mansion. If the name Houtstont is not yet engraved in our collective memory, it is not due to a lack of artistic talent, but rather to the fact that many of his decorative sculptures are unsigned. It is therefore high time to finally put this artist in the spotlight!

Houtstont, while born and bred in Paris, primarily made his mark on the architectural and urban history of Brussels. Arriving in Belgium in 1859, he decided never to leave again. His first works were highly remarkable and can be admired to this day: he worked on both the Congress Column and the Governor’s Mansion. The latter commission gave him access to other prestigious projects in Brussels such as the Palace of Justice, the Anspach fountain, the Centre for Fine Arts, the Royal Palace, the Royal Conservatory, the Castle of Laeken, etc.
UCB rénovations 022010 -- (45)

Collaborating with the architects involved, he always succeeded in perfectly integrating his decorative sculptures in the various façades and interiors of Brussels. The ornaments were created in his studio in Saint-Gilles, where he worked from 1867 onwards. This studio has now been recreated in our museum for the duration of the exhibition, which will give you a unique insight into the personal and professional life of Georges Houtstont, in a scenography combining items from the collections of various institutions with short videos.






Where and when?

Poster Expo Houtstont

Poster Expo Houtstont

The exhibition is open every working day (Monday to Friday), 9am to 5pm, from 31 May to 1 October, and is completely free to enter. Guided visits are available every Tuesday (13.30 in French and 15:00 in Dutch) and Thursday (13:30 in Dutch and 15:00 in French), subject to the COVID-19 safety measures in force. Please contact 02 221 22 06 or museum@nbb.be for advance booking, even if you intend to visit the exhibition at another time with your own group.

The curator of the exhibition, Linda Van Santvoort, will be delighted to share with you the details of her research on the ornamentalist Georges Houtstont. You can listen to her during the special opening days on 21 July (14:00 in Dutch,15:30 in French) and 15 August (14:00 in French, 15:30 in Dutch). Please also contact 02 221 22 06 or museum@nbb.be for advance booking.

The exhibition will also be open on the Heritage Days on 18 and 19 September, during which you can also admire Georges Houtstont’s work in the Governor’s Mansion. Guided visits will be organised in both the museum and the Governor’s Mansion, but must be booked in advance via the urban.brussels website.


  1. Tercaefs Arlette
    Posted Wednesday June 9th, 2021 at 02:00 PM | Permalink

    Graag reservatie voor de rondleiding 15/08/2021 1persoon

  2. paulinelanda
    Posted Thursday June 10th, 2021 at 03:48 PM | Permalink

    Beste Arlette, u mag hiervoor een mailtje sturen naar museum@nbb.be. Tot dan!

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