KMSKA pulls out all the stops this year 

PRESS RELEASE - 3 januari 2024

In 2024, the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp (KMSKA) is coming up with a fascinating mix of exhibitions, events and activities. The agenda includes exhibitions on the prints of Peter Paul Rubens and Jules Schmalzigaug, the first solo exhibition by Antwerp artist Jef Verheyen in his own city and one of the largest Belgian Ensor exhibitions since 1999.
Furthermore, KMSKA amazes with a finissage that turns heads, a monumental restoration in a museum gallery, two new Artists in Residence and artistic interventions on Thursday evening.

Turning Heads Finissage


On 18 January, KMSKA will conclude its first major exhibition since the reopening. Turning Heads will close with a festive finissage during KMSKA LATE. On the programme: music, dance and an intimate tête-à-tête with the heads of Quinten Massijs, Bruegel, Rubens, Brouwer and Rembrandt. A colourful event for young and old alike. But above all, the very last chance to stroll through the exhibition and come face to face with 76 turning heads, including Vermeer's Girl with a Red Hat.

Girl with the red hat, Johannes Vermeer - National Gallery of Art, Washington DC
Rest during the flight to Egypt - Rubens en Jegher

Rubens in black & white

26.01.2024 - 28.04.2024 (Print Room KMSKA)

Rubens' fame spread quickly and far beyond Europe. He owed this not only to his paintings, but also to the many prints he commissioned of his works. Indeed: 'commissioned'. Unlike Albrecht Dürer, for instance, Rubens left the cutting of his prints to others. Admittedly under strict supervision. Rubens was in the habit of checking proofs himself, correcting them with pen or retouching them with paint. The engraver or woodblock cutter based his work on these to further refine the copper plate or woodblock. The KMSKA owns more than 700 Rubens prints. From before and after his death. This exhibition introduces you to the engravers' talent for flawlessly capturing Rubens' works in black and white. Each one of them a masterpiece, presented in the intimate atmosphere of the print room.

Studio Rubens

Throughout the year, visitors in the Rubens Gallery can catch a glimpse of the restoration of Rubens' Enthroned Madonna Adored by Saints. After scanning the canvas and cleaning the surface, a new phase will start in 2024: the removal of varnish. On the immense scaffolding, restorers get to work with solvents and cotton swabs. Various restorers take care of different areas simultaneously. A painstaking task that you can observe live. In February, the University of Antwerp will also announce the results of their research with the macro-XRF scanner on this colossal work.

Scan Enthroned Madonna Adored by Saints. - foto by Sanne De Block
Jef Verheyen, Filip Tas - Collectie FOMU Antwerpen

Jef Verheyen. Window on Infinity

23.03.2024 – 18.08.2024 (in cooperation with M HKA and Jef Verheyen Archive)

So important to the European art world and yet relatively unknown in Belgium: Flemish artist Jef Verheyen (1932-1984) returns to Antwerp. Forty years after his death, the KMSKA presents the first museum solo exhibition of this illustrious modern master in his hometown. A first.

In the exhibition, visitors will discover a fascinating interplay of light and dark, of form and colour. Thanks to pioneering research by the M HKA, Verheyen's experimental quest for the void is taking shape. Accordingly, Verheyen's works are not only placed in dialogue or confrontation with his predecessors and contemporaries, but also with contemporary artists. Prestigious loans from the Yves Klein Foundation, the Ueker Archiv and the Fondazione Lucio Fontana, among others, will enhance the exhibition and place Verheyen in an international context.

What’s The Story?

17.08.2024 - 17.11.2024 and 23.11.2024 - 09.02.2025 (two editions)

In your wildest dreams, which works by contemporary Belgian and international artists would you add to the KMSKA's permanent collection? We put this challenging question to our curators. You will experience their answer in two editions of What's The Story? A fascinating quest for contemporary art that touches, surprises and interrogates people. Expect an intriguing exploration through the empty Ensor halls. Where you might come face to face with the masterpieces of tomorrow's Ensors.

Brusselmans - What's the story
Jules Schmalzigaug - Atmosphere of color and shapes - Gallery Ronny Van de Velde
De Intrige - James Ensor

Schmalzigaug in het prentenkabinet

27.09.2024 – 12.01.2025

Jules Schmalzigaug is a pivotal figure in Belgian modernism. He created the first abstract oil painting in Belgian art history. He was the first Belgian avant-garde artist to penetrate the core of Italian and international Futurism. And with Ensor and Wouters, he belongs to the Big Three modern colour artists. KMSKA already had the largest collection in the world of James Ensor and Rik Wouters. Of late, the same applies to Jules Schmalzigaug. Ronny and Jessy Van de Velde have donated 43 drawings, 4 sketchbooks, a preliminary study, lithography, a painting, personal photos and an archive collection of manuscripts and letters to the museum. His drawings, sketches and pastels will form the core of an atmospheric exhibition in the print room from September onwards.

Ensors stoutste dromen. Het impressionisme voorbij

28.09.2024 - 19.01.2025

In autumn 2024, James Ensor will be taking over the KMSKA with one of the biggest Belgian Ensor exhibitions since 1999. In this exhibition, you will dive into Ensor's wonderful universe of wild visions, masks and satire. We will be showing Ensor side by side with work by international artists who inspired Ensor and with whom he wanted to measure up. Because above all, Ensor wanted to be sharper. More radical. Even if his competitors were named Claude Monet, Edvard Munch or even Hieronymus Bosch and Francisco Goya. The exhibition is part of the Ensor Year. From September 2024, several Antwerp museums will highlight the artist's oeuvre with a series of ambitious exhibitions. The focus will be on Ensor's enduring relevance through cross-pollination with contemporary art, fashion and photography. With the largest Ensor collection in the world, this avant-garde artist lives on in the KMSKA.

KMSKA LATE introduces you to two new Artists in Residence

Every Thursday night

With KMSKA LATE, the museum keeps its doors open until 10pm on Thursday nights. This late-night formula caught on strongly in 2023. We are therefore happy to make it a regular tradition in 2024 as well. Visitors once again enjoy evening tours, tête-à-têtes with Rubens and Fouquet, cocktails and performances. The first months' programme features some exciting guests such as new Artist in Residence Elise Caluwaerts. The internationally acclaimed opera singer will perform songs by Alma Mahler, unrecognised composer and wife of Gustav Mahler. Aïda Gabriëls, a grande dame in the world of music, opera and theatre, will also be joining the KMSKA as Artist in Residence. With her 'oyster' collective, she draws inspiration from the rich KMSKA collection.

The full programme of KMSKA Late will follow later. At we will provide you with a preview of the first months.

In addition to the exhibitions and activities mentioned above, in 2024 the KMSKA will also participate in Erfgoeddag (Heritage Day), Museumnacht (Museum Night), Open Monumentendag (Open Monument Day), Kunstendag voor Kinderen (Children's Art Day), Slow Art Day and Dag van de Wetenschap (Science Day), among others. The permanent museum activities also provide additional experiences. For children, there are The 10, Theater voor de allerkleinsten (Theatre for the Very Young) and Kunstkampen (Art Camps). The Open restoration studio and Curator talks provide extra depth. Open atelier and drawing workshops stimulate visitors' creativity. And the tours for the blind and visually impaired, Queer tours and Radio Bart also remain firm favourites. With family tours and youth events on De Trappen, our museum offers two more accessible activities.


Images can be found here:

Would you like additional information on any of the above projects or would you like to request an interview or visit? Please get in touch via the contact details below.


Lore Jans
Press and PR

M          0032 476 23 94 73