Colin Gleadell has some interesting thoughts on why Brussels is one of Europe’s most important cities for collectors:
Belgium can boast more collectors per square mile than any other country, but the biggest of them have tended to shop abroad. Since 2008, though, important galleries have been setting up in Brussels – from Paris, Almine Rech and Daniel Templon; from New York, Barbara Gladstone and Elizabeth Dee; and from London, MOT and Christopher Crescent, for example. An array of international artists also work there. Its central European location, fast transport links, and favoured location for French billionaires escaping punishing wealth taxes at home, all contribute to the art buzz that permeates the city.
Buyers might be said to be following the example of Mimi Dusselier, a local collector with international reach, who has been collecting for 35 years – usually ahead of the game, and at affordable prices. In 1972, for instance she bought a white relief by the Dutch artist, Jan Schoonhoven, then an unrecognised mid-career artist, for less than £1,000. Schoonhoven’s reliefs can now command half a million pounds. Last week, her target was still to buy the best quality work by young artists for under €20,000, before the prices go up.