Van Buuren Museum

De val van Icarus - Toegeschreven aan Bruegel

One does not visit the Van Buuren Museum & Gardens in Uccle, one comes home in them. This is the home of a couple with great love for the arts, who designed their living spaces with ample care.

Van Buuren Museum

The house does not overwhelm the visitor. It was built with love and care, and with attention for the brick structure and finish. The woodwork instantly recalls Dutch examples. So it is clear: the Amsterdam School has left its mark here. The house was designed by patron David van Buuren himself and by his nephew Johan Franco while architects Léon Govaerts and Alexis van Vaerenbergh turned the plans into reality. There is no gaudiness, but rather an atmosphere of demure luxury. The hall exudes warmth thanks to the Brazilian rosewood and Jaap Gidding’s stained glass window, a geometric composition in orange and yellow tones. The chandelier by Jan Eisenloeffel is a striking feature which the owners bought at an exhibition of decorative arts in Paris in 1925. To let the chandelier truly shine, they had the stairwell enlarged. This is only one example of how architecture played second fiddle to the arts. The stairwell was designed for George Minne’s Kneeling Man. The garden, too, is definitely worth a visit. While David van Buuren mainly concerned himself with the house, Alice applied herself to designing the gardens.

De val van Icarus - Toegeschreven aan Bruegel

The Fall of Icarus

Pride comes before a fall. This is exactly what was depicted in this painting, after a story by Roman author Ovid. In the story, a young Icarus flies with his father Daedalus out of their prison on the Greek island of Crete with wings made out of feathers and wax. Despite his father’s warnings, though, Icarus flew too close to the sun, so his wings started to melt and he ultimately plunged into the waves of the Aegean Sea. In the bottom right corner of the painting, we can see Icarus’s legs sticking out from the water. The painter evidently emphasised the ploughing farmer who is not paying any attention to the drama in the foreground. This famous work was long attributed to Pieter Bruegel the Elder, but research into the wood of the panel showed the painting is, in fact, a really excellent copy. The original work hangs in the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium in Brussels. 

Vrouw in de spiegel - Gustave de Smet

Young Woman in the Mirror - Gustave De Smet

Gustave De Smet studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent and settled in Sint-Martens-Latem at the beginning of the 20th century. He was part of the Latemse School, a group of expressionist painters who had settled by the meandering Leie river around the village. De Smet was part of the second generation. The Van Buuren Museum has his Young Woman in the Mirror in its collection. In this expressionist work, a woman is facing us with her back, but she is looking at us intently in the mirror. The painting is drawn in a simple style and its shapes are contoured in charcoal. Every superfluodetail has been omitted and the colour palette has been chosen very carefully.

De afwezigen - Gustave van de Woestyne

The White Coffee Pot - Gustave van de Woestyne

Gustave van de Woestyne's still lifes make up an important part of the collection at the Van Buuren Museum. Alice and David van Buuren loved the genre and ordered six canvases for their dining room, one of which was The White Coffee Pot. The perspective is not realistic, the white table cloth, the bunches of blue grapes, the two glasses, the coffee pot and the chairs are not in proportion. And looking closely, we can see a boat steaming past on a wild sea between the curtains in the background. Van de Woestyne never painted to nature, but always provided his own fascinating take on it. The six still lifes are inextricably connected with the furniture, carpets and other art objects in the room.

De geknielde - Georges Minne

Kneeling Man - Georges Minne

Georges Minne belonged to the first Latemse School, which Gustave van de Woestyne belonged to as well. These artists were called the 'mystics', because in their quest for their own imagery, they showed a marked preference for mysticism and symbolism. The demure image of the Kneeling Man is one of Minne’s most famous works. The naked boy is kneeling and looking at the floor, seemingly trying to protect himself from the outside world with his arms. He looks insecure. Only a true master is able to convey such emotions in a realistic way.

Haardijzers in verguld goud - Dolf Ledel

Guilt andirons - Dolf Ledel

The andirons Esprit du feu (Spirit of the Fire) were made by Dolf Ledel in 1928. Around this period, his style was evolving from monumental realism to more stylised purity. We can discern Egyptian and Greek influences in his figures. These guilt andirons are a great example of the non-functionalist fashion within the Art Deco. They were never used, as they only had a decorative function, like the chimney, which had been designed only to suit the dimensions of a painting by Permeke.

Practical information


Léo Erreralaan 41
1180 Ukkel
View directions

Opening times

  • From Wednesday to Monday from 2 until 5:30 pm.

  • Closed on Tuesdays.

Disabled access

  • Difficult to access for the disabled.


Nice to know

  • Admission: €15.00 for standard tickets

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