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(2013)Gent 1913 : op het breukvlak van de moderniteit.p.170-185 Mark abstract Various art exhibitions were organized in the context of the Ghent World Fair (1913), just as for other Fairs since 1855. These were devoted to past and present artworks, from regional, national and international artists. The exhibition ‘Oude Kunst in Vlaanderen’ (Ancient Art in Flanders), in the Museum of Fine Arts, aimed to give an impression of past living conditions and customs in Flanders via the ‘proper’ artistic past, from the Middle Ages to the eighteenth century, focusing not on painting but on other artistic disciplines in which Flemish artists and artisans excelled in earlier days, such as sculpture, miniature painting, tapestry, and silversmith’s trade. A somewhat uncommon, transnational geographical scope was chosen, the Scheldt region, which allowed the inclusion of artworks from Northern France. This remarkable regional focus was to stimulate a sense of national unity and to enforce its international recognition. The important French contribution in the Fair was regarded by many, including the organizing committee, as a model to follow. This too was the case for the Exhibition of contemporary Fine Arts in the newly-built Palace of Fine Arts, replacing the annual Salon of that year. This exhibition comprised mainly ‘modern’ (but no modernist) artworks by living artists, both established and upcoming, and featured smaller British, Dutch and ‘international’ divisions. The Belgian section was daringly sober in its presentation, compared to the more ornate French section, that was equally large. Several countries also showed a substantial selection of their decorative arts at the Ghent World Fair. Photography too, for the first time in World Fair history, was assigned a fully-fledged, international ‘art’ exhibition. Painted panorama’s and diorama’s, then again, were popular attractions in various pavilions. This way, in the manifold exhibitions at the Ghent World Fair attention was paid to both the ‘high’ and lower estimated arts, to the regional, national and international, and to past, present and progress in numerous fields of the arts.

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Autor: Marjan Sterckx and Jana Wijnsouw



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