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TO THE POINT- The neo-impressionist portrait, 1886-1904

Brussels, 18 February 2014


ING Belgium presents at the ING Cultural Centre, located Place Royale 6, 1000 Brussels, the exhibition “TO THE POINT - The Neo-Impressionist portrait, 1886-1904”.
This exhibition, entirely devoted to the pointillist portrait, is a first. It is organised by the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The Brussels presentation is realised in collaboration with ING.

Originating in Paris, and a real turning point in the history of painting at the end of the 19th century, the Neo-Impressionist movement developed in a unique way in Brussels.
In 1886, Georges Seurat exhibited his painting "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte" in Paris. Noticing the modernity of this masterpiece, his Belgian contemporaries invited Seurat to exhibit the work the following year at the Salon des XX. The work inspired both the artists of this Brussels circle and artists invited from other European countries. The revolutionary theory of Neo-Impressionism was welcomed enthusiastically in Brussels, which rapidly became a platform for the exchange of progressive ideas.

The Neo-Impressionist movement revolved around two axes. The French school, with protagonists as Georges Seurat, Paul Signac, Lucien Pissarro, Maximilien Luce, Henri Delavallée, Henri-Edmond Cross and Achille Laugé, used this technique in its search into light and colour, recomposed by the eye through juxtaposed points of pure colour. In terms of the portrait, the French school conveyed the idea of the effigy portrait, with its neutrality and precise objectivity.

Belgian artists however, in particular Henry Van de Velde, Georges Lemmen, George Morren, Théo Van Rysselberghe and William Jelley, demonstrated that this divisionist colour technique could be perfectly applied for creating intimate and psychological portraits, with great depth and meticulousness in their use of light.

Figures from Brussels' intellectual and industrial circles had their portraits painted by the Neo-Impressionist artists, who were themselves invited to participate in literary circles, concerts and other artistic spectacles. Neo-Impressionist ideas thus fuelled all these forms of cultural expression.

Why you should visit the exhibition TO THE POINT

  • the exhibition presents to the general public the quintessence of pointillist portraits: exceptional works, some of which have never left the collection of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, or even private collections or other international museums. One example: for the first time in over two decades, we see the portraits of the three Sèthe sisters reunited, emblematic figures of the period, renowned for their talents and love of art.
  • a computerised "Who's who" illustrated by a whole host of photographs, allowing visitors to discover the extent of relations forged at the time between Neo-Impressionist artists and their contemporaries.
  • three artist videos directed by Paul Hendrikse (a Dutch artist living in Belgium), who was invited by ING to take part in the exhibition: a new look at one of the most visionary and controversial artistic movements of the 19th century.
  • a series of lectures offering analytical points of view on the personalities of the Neo-Impressionist artists and the impact their pictorial developments had on the cultural milieu of the period (see lectures programme on
  • the lavishly illustrated and scholarly catalogue published by Yale University Press / Indianapolis Museum of Art and a Visitor's Notebook (published by ING in French, Dutch and English) shed further light on the exhibition and the personalities of the artists being presented.

Creative experiences for both young and less young

  • The Colour Studio "From Point to Pixel", a key didactic element of the exhibition, allows you to play around and experiment with the theories of colour which served as a scientific basis for the Neo-Impressionists. In particular, learn how Seurat was but a few steps away from discovering the principles of pixelisation by applying these theories in his painting. This workshop is suitable for all participants from 12 years and upwards.
  • For younger visitors (5 to 12 years), the Colour Workshop introduces children to the mysteries of colour, encouraging them to perceive, sense, imagine and create...

The TO THE POINT exhibition definitively demonstrates that, during this short period of time, new methods and theories were introduced that contributed substantially to the spread of modernism in Europe and made Neo-Impressionism a vital precursor to the art of the 20th century.

This exhibition is organised by the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The Brussels presentation is realised in collaboration with ING.

To the Point
The Neo-Impressionist Portrait, 1886-1904
19.02.2014 – 18.05.2014
ING Cultural Centre
Hôtel Coudenberg
Place Royale 6
B-1000 Brussels

  Face to Face
The Neo-Impressionist Portrait, 1886-1904
15.06.2014 - 07.09.2014
Indianapolis Museum of Art
4000 Michigan Road
Indianapolis, IN
46208 USA

Dr. Jane Block, Professor, University of Illinois
Ellen W. Lee, The Wood-Pulliam Senior Curator, Indianapolis Museum of Art
Administration Indianapolis Museum of Art
Dr Charles L. Venable, The Melvin & Bren Simon Director and CEO

Co-curators ING
Borys Delobbe, PhD candidate in History of Art, UCL
Patricia De Peuter, Senior Art Advisor, Head of Art Management ING Belgium


Practical information

Open from 19 February to 18 May 2014
Open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day, including public holidays. Late night opening until 9 p.m. on Wednesdays.

ING Cultural Centre
Mont des Arts, Place Royale 6
1000 Brussels



Wednesday evenings from 7 to 8 p.m., at the ING Cultural Centre.
Reservation mandatory via: > Ticket Online.
Free entrance on presentation of the entry ticket to the exhibition.


Borys Delobbe, PhD candidate in Art History, UCL
William Jelley, redécouverte d’un artiste oublié (in French)


Roland Van Der Hoeven, Research Unit Music, Cinema and Performing Arts, ULB
Points et contrepoints… la vie musicale bruxelloise de Wagner à Debussy (1880-1914) (in French)


Marc Quaghebeur, Directeur of the Archives and Museum of Literature, Brussels
Le rôle d’Emile Verhaeren dans le mouvement des XX et les pointillistes (in French)


Suzanne Veldink, Project Officer, Museum Kröller-Müller, Otterlo
«Les XX», Henry Van de Velde en het pointillisme vertegenwoordigd in de Helen Kröller-Müller collectie (in Dutch)

16.04.2014Johan De Smet, Curator of Modern Art, Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Gent
In punten en komma’s: het Belgische neo-impressionisme in een internationale context (in Dutch)30.04.2014 Herwig Todts, Curator of Modern Art, Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp
De gereserveerde receptie van het pointillisme. Ensor en de Antwerpse kunstwereld (in Dutch)




Pour de plus amples renseignements :
Service de presse ING Belgique, +32 2 547 22 94,
Caracas PR – - +32 4 349 14 41 – GSM +32 495 22 07 92


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