Christine Vermeire-Verbiest with work by Peter Buggenhout: 'Clouds are not spheres', below lies the head of my horse (starting point for the complete image that Berlinde De Bruyckere made and was shown in the Bonnefantenmuseum) and the Arendsuil is by Marcel Berlanger.
What do art lovers like? Where do they buy their art and, most importantly, what do they buy? This week it’s retired entrepreneur Christine Vermeire-Verbiest (age 68).
What does art mean to you?
Art to me means 'beauty' in the broadest sense of the word. Art can move me, make me reflect, but I can also become genuinely happy by looking at a painting, an image, a drawing, a photo, listening to music, or reading an extraordinary book.
Willy De Sauter, Untitled, 2020, 2021, Gallery Sofie Van de Velde & Galerie Ramakers.
Were you exposed to art while growing up?
My parents were simple people; my father worked hard to get us to study. When he was free on Sundays, he would take us to the classical museums where I discovered the great masters. Consciously admiring and experiencing art came later, by making time with my husband to visit museums, explore gallery shows, explore many books, and follow courses.
Mario De Brabandere, Zonder titel, 2021, Kristof De Clercq gallery.
Where do you read about the latest developments in the art world?
I read a lot about art, mainly in newspapers and art magazines. I mainly use the internet for research about artists that interest us and/or the shows that galleries offer. On television I only watch documentaries about – or conversations with – interesting artists, such as the broadcast of 'Alleen Elvis blijft bestaan' with Michaël Borremans.
Hans Op De Beeck, Celeste (Smoking), 2020, Galerie Ron Mandos.
Where do you prefer to look at art?
We like to go to museums a lot where we enjoy the more established names. Recently the solo show of Berlinde De Bruyckere in the Bonnefantenmuseum and David Hockney in Bozar, but also a small exhibition by Stefaan Vermuyten in De Markten, BXL.
Patrick Van Caeckenbergh, Ontwerp voor 'Fluitketel', 1999, Zeno X Gallery.
Where do you do your buying: in a gallery, at an art fair, at an auction or online?
We buy at art fairs and especially in galleries in Ghent (our home town), Antwerp and Brussels. During the pandemic we surfed a lot online and followed auctions, but did not buy. We want to 'feel' a work, so to speak.
Deadly Nightshade, 2020, rodolphe janssen.
How often do you buy art each year?
We prefer to buy unique work and have built up our collection slowly over a period of more than thirty years. In recent years, we have accelerated purchasing: more time? More means? Our age?
Awoiska van der Molen, #639-9, 2021, Annet Gelink Gallery.
Is it important that you and your partner always agree on a purchase?
I lean more towards 'silent', intimate works, while my partner Luc prefers 'rock 'n roll'. Most of the time we find ourselves in the choices we make. We also rarely regret a to have purchased a certain work.
Jeff McMillan, Closed City I (Blue), 2021, Kristof De Clercq gallery.
Do you have a special relationship with any one gallery?
We have a good relationship with Galerie Kristof De Clercq. We also buy from Barbé-Urbain, Tatjana Pieters, Sofie Van de Velde, Galerie Bruthaus, Zeno X Gallery, Galerie Obadia, Keteleer Gallery, Galerie Zink, Laurent Godin.
Thomas Renwart (Les Monseigneurs), Neuf variations du mot tristesse, 2021, BruthausGallery.
If you had an unlimited budget, whose work would you buy?
Undoubtedly a work by Berlinde De Bruyckere. Berlinde made a statue of my horse that was on display in Maastricht. If I had the space and budget… But I have a cast of his head in wax that touches me every day.
Who are your favourite artists?
Willy De Sauter still moves me by the way he brings his monochromes to 'live', the subtle layering, the absence of colour: a feast for the eye that wants to 'see'.
Mario De Brabandere is almost the epitome of calm firmness; he succeeds in creating an image with 'nothing' that sticks to the retina.
Patrick Van Caeckenberg is in my opinion a very unique artist. He is primarily a scientist and researcher. Wonder is the word that befits his work.
Dirk Braeckman, U.S.-R.B.-20, 2021, Zeno X Gallery.