De Pelgrim

Temporary exhibition
27 May 2023 until 03 September 2023

Art and meaning in a disenchanted world (1924-1931)

As part of the Antwerp city festival Baroque Influencers, KMSKA presents the exhibition The Pilgrim. In 1924, in the shadow of the historical avant-garde, a few Flemish artists founded the Catholic artists' association De Pelgrim (The Pilgrim). Their aim? To oppose a world that was becoming increasingly modern and to return to faith. However, they did not do so by clinging to the past. On the contrary. Pelgrim artists understood the new, innovative aspect of modern art all too well.

You rediscover the (international) network of De Pilgrim and the religious community art of the interwar period. Like many other culture-critical voices, the inspirers of De Pelgrim were concerned about what the push for modernization would lead to. In order to modernize ecclesiastical art and to erect a dam against modern mass culture, Felix Timmermans, Ernest Van der Hallen and Flor Van Reeth founded De Pelgrim in 1924 - in the beguinage in Liège.

Jesus et les autres - Prosper de Troyer, 1933, collection Pas-Chaudoir, Belgie
Le ciel est à nous - Paul Joostens, collection Mu.ZEE

The first twelve members - apostles - included painters, architects, poets, writers, musicians, designers and theater-makers. The Pilgrim strove for community art and sought to unite modernity and faith. From 1924 to 1931, they invited the entire faith community to "a pilgrimage to the inner self. That quest took concrete form in a magazine of the same name and in two exhibitions in 1927 and 1930 in Antwerp. The Antwerp Jesuit Leonce Reypens was the society's "spiritual director" and co-founder of the Antwerp Ruusbroec Society. Known members were Albert Servaes, Huib Hoste, Renaat Veremans, Gerard Walschap, René Demedts and Marnix Gijsen.

Baroque Influencers is an initiative of the Jesuit Heritage Foundation, founded by UCSIA and Antwerp University. This foundation of public utility is dedicated to the scientific and social valorisation of the movable material heritage of the Jesuits in Antwerp and beyond. UCSIA coordinates the city festival. The University of Antwerp acts as co-organiser. The intendant of the city festival Baroque Influencers is Harold Polis.

Practical information

  • In the print room
  • Free with museum ticket, reservation not required