Neirynck Collection

The NeirynckCollection

The Neirynck Collection is a unique ensemble of some 700 paintings composed in the spirit of the CoBrA movement.

Almost 170 Belgian and European painters, from Pierre Alechinsky to Asger Jorn, Bram Van Velde to Henri Michaux and from Louis Van Lint to Christian Dotremont are represented. The collection is as rich as it is diverse and remains today the reference for abstract art in Belgium during the second half of the 20th century.

Thomas Neirynck, the sponsor

A man of art, heart and passion: this is the image that Thomas Neirynck (1924-2010) has bequeathed to us through his collection. He demonstrated an enthusiastic interest for the art of his time. Each of the canvases he acquired evoked an emotion for him, one that he wanted to share with us. Yet what characterized his project most was the loyalty and friendship that he shared with most of the artists whose work he collected.

Artist in his soul, he chose to support and encourage numerous artists who managed to express a feeling that he shared with them through painting.

The "Jeune Peinture Belge"

During the Second World War, the art that had flourished pre-war became subject to a unique and restrained vision. Artisitic activity slowed and the museums closed. The only art authorized under German domination was that of propaganda

The CoBrA movement

The CoBrA movement was created by Christian Dotremont, Asger Jorn, Karel Appel and Constant Corneille after the end of the war, in 1948. The artists, of Belgian, Danish and Dutch nationalities, chose as the name for their movement an acronmym based on the capital cities of their countries of birth - Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam. 


During the Second World War, abstract art became less popular, although without being completely forgotten. Surrealism however remained boyant.

Later, a number of artists turned away from surrealism, and gradually moved towards lyrical abstraction, in which dreams and the subconscious were evoked.

The Collection today

The Neirynck Collection is absolutelty remarkable not only because of the works it comprises, but also through the history, anecdotes and meetings associated with the collection. It provides us with a different view of a whole aspect of our heritage. Aware of the contribution that his collection could make, Thomas Neirynck wanted to perpetuate his life's work for future generations and so as to see through this ambition, he turned to the King Baudouin Foundation.