Détail musée Georges Houtstont
Temporary exhibition

Georges Houtstont and the ornamental craze of the Belle Epoque

Free admission Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

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.

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.

Practical information

© Museum of the National Bank of Belgium

31.05 - 01.10.2021 - Georges Houtstont and the ornamental craze of the Belle Epoque

Free admission Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm 

 Guided visits on reservation (subject to the COVID-19 safety measures in force) : 

  • every Tuesday : 13.30 (FR), 15.00 (NL)
  • every Thursday : 13.30 (NL), 15.00 (FR)
  • on request for groups of 10 people

Booking : 02 221 22 06 - museum@nbb.be 

Exceptional openings

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.