Gallery De Vuyst arose from the ambition of one man:
Gaston De Vuyst (1910-1992)
Being interested in art and creativity he had personally met and admired quite some Belgian artists in Brussels and Antwerp in the twenties and thirties.
He got to know collectors such as Gustave Van Gheluwe – from whom he received his training as a master-tailor- and visited galleries like “The Centaure”. This was a centre of modernism which not only enabled a breakthrough of Flemish expressionism but organized exhibitions as well of a.o. René Magritte, Hans Arp, Max Ernst, Kandinsky, Paul Klee and Joan Miró.
The young art lover also kept a close track of the catalogues of auctions at Gallery Georges Giroux.
Assured of the succession in the clothes shop he and his wife Diane Geerinck (1914-2008) had built up, he could fully devote himself to the art trade, thus following his lifelong passion.
In a building next to the clothes shop, rebuilt for the purpose of an exhibition space, Gaston De Vuyst, at the time 52 years old, opened his first Art Gallery (Kerkstraat 48). Soon, through years of contacts with the art scene, Gallery De Vuyst grew to more than just a place artists could dispose of. Up to 10 exhibitions a year were organised. Selection and choice of artists and works of art were decided by the gallery owner, assisted by his daughter Huguette De Vuyst.
There were personal exhibitions of a.o. Edgard Tytgat, Frans Masereel, Léon De Smet, Roger Raveel, Louis Van Lint.
Thematic as well as group exhibitions were added, one of the first dedicated to “The Centaure”.
On the exhibition posters there were a.o. “Oscar Jespers” and “Contemporary Painting in France”. Also the first auction poster was printed that year.
So many works were offered for sale at the so-called ‘Salons’ that the activities had to be expanded: the first auction took place. Due to great success, soon 2 to 3 auctions a year were conducted. Today there are 3 auctions a year presenting important national and international artists from the 17th century onwards.
Along with the growth of the gallery and its auction activities the expansion of the buildings was at hand. Next to the original rooms the auction room was built (Kerkstraat 24-46) as well as several offices, a book shop, a coffee house, storage areas and a sculpture garden.
Gaston’s daughter Andréa De Vuyst and his son Guy De Vuyst joined the team in 1982.
The big thematic exhibition “Barbizon, 19th century landscape painting” was a crowd puller.
On the auction of April 20, 1985 Magritte’s “Madame Recamier de David”, one of his eight sculptures, was sold for 12.650.000 BF (€ 310.000) to the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp, a record price for this sculpture until today.
The premises at number 54, a building dating from 1750, were renovated and made suitable for contemporary art, now known as “De Vuyst Contemporary”. The first exhibitions were dedicated to “Keith Haring” and “Joseph Beuys”.
Gaston’s daughter-in-law Pascale De Vuyst-Philips joined the team in the same year.
More renovations were done (Kerkstraat 22) creating additional exhibition rooms,
a library, a photo studio and more storage areas. This literally doubled the gallery’s surface area. A strong team was made up with co-workers Thierry Lacroix, Hervé Lescornez, Renaat Sapyn a.o. who have built up an experience of more than 20 years within the gallery.
A conscious selection of works of all periods based on artistic criteria and the endless possibilities of the internet have made the auctions increasingly more international.
Among Belgian artists, remarkable results have been shown for works of a.o. Paul Delvaux (“Les Louves” was sold for € 527.000), Théo Van Rysselberghe, Emile Claus, Alfred Stevens, Panamarenko, Roger Raveel, Pierre Alechinsky, James Ensor, Raoul De Keyser, Wim Delvoye.
Belgian as well as international collectors are very active in Lokeren, as buyer and as seller. They much appreciate the offer ranging from Camille Claudel, Lucio Fontana and Wifredo Lam to Warhol and Zao Wou-Ki. Also works of less-known artists but highly estimated among collectors of contemporary art can be found: Equipo Crónica, Xiang Jing, Alexandre Fassianos or Liu Jianhua.
Grandson Tom De Vuyst joins the team and together with his father, he now conducts the sales. Among the first works that he sold from the rostrum there was a candle-soot drawing of 1961 by the Italian artist Piero Manzoni “Linea” estimated at € 10.000 - € 16.000 which achieved 36.000 € and a kinetic sculpture of 1962 by Pol Bury “Retractile”, which fetched € 70.000.
Buildings and activities were again expanded. A new art gallery (Kerkstraat 48-50) was opened in the premises where the clothing business stopped its activities after 79 years.
Here the permanent collection and a selection of renowned national and international artists were shown. There have been exhibitions of Hilde Van Sumere, Reinhoud and of Marie Julia Bollansée, video- and performance artist.
Final piece of the premises is the Icons Designshop. Next to the gallery and its auctions, also designer objects are offered. True to the 55 years of De Vuyst tradition the Icons designshop brings top quality with an eye for detail and presentation. Designer objects have their functionality but at the same time they reflect an aesthetic and creative aspect.
Icons presents a selection of creations by top-designers, icons in the world of design, as well as new talent.
Presently, the gallery is a coherent, organically grown entity with 8 exhibition areas, with at the core the spacious auctionroom.