Belgian Art on Paper
in a European Perspective

BePAPER is a four-year research project. It is to provide the first overview of the field of Belgian avant-garde works on paper within an international context between 1918 and 1950: that is up and until the dawn of CoBrA and the rise of the neo-avant-gardes. One of the project’s main aims is to contribute to a better definition of the collection of modern works on paper of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium (RMFAB).

BePAPER is a collaboration between the RMFAB, KU Leuven and its MDRN research lab, and the Université Libre de Bruxelles. It is funded by BRAIN-be 2.0.


The project’s aim is to study and disclose artworks on paper, amongst which there are drawings, watercolors, collages, and assemblages. The RMFAB collection houses about a thousand individual sheets of paper and sketchbooks created by Belgian avant-garde artists from the time period.

These artists include the futurist Jules Schmalzigaug, expressionists Frits van den Berghe, Joseph Cantré, Gustave De Smet and Constant Permeke, the constructivists Jozef Peeters, Karel Maes, Felix De Boeck, Victor Servranckx, Edmond van Dooren and Pierre-Louis Flouquet, the surrealists Paul Delvaux, René Magritte, and E.L.T. Mesens as well as the dadaist Paul Joostens. We will also have a closer look at the so-called Jeune Peinture Belge at the end of the historical avant-garde.

In addition to the collection of artworks, the research will be based on holdings in the Archives of Contemporary Art in Belgium (ACAB), Archives of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium (ARMFAB) and the museum library.


2) To better disclose the RMFAB collection of works on paper through the findings gained within the study and through the development of open data solutions.

3) To organize several outreach events such as a conference, publications and exhibitions. They will address both a scientific and a wider audience.

This website will continue to grow as a platform for sharing our research outcomes, stories, events etc.

Victor Servranckx, Composition,
pencil on paper, 1947, inv. 11218.

Marthe Donas, Abstract Composition no. 5,
oil on cardboard, 1921, inv. 8579.

Félix De Boeck, Portrait of Karel Maes,
wash and pen and black ink on paper, 1926, inv. 7839.

Karel Maes, Lino, colour linocut, printed in three colours, 1919, inv. 10371/2.

Roger Van Gindertael, Mr. Zero works…, collage of newspaper and printed paper with pen and brush and black ink, white gouache and pencil on paper, ca. 1925, inv. 10467.

Georges Mariën, Collage (Untitled), collage of printed paper on printed paper, 1945, inv. 12101.

Germaine Rimbout, Magic Landscape,
watercolour on paper, (date unknown), inv. 8241.

Jozef Peeters, Draft Design for Living Room Cabinet, pencil and pen and red and brown ink on paper, 1924, inv. 10344.

Jo Delahaut, Untitled, gouache and brush and black ink on paper, 1949, inv. 12107.

Jules Schmalzigaug, Scheveningen, coloured chalk and pastel on paper pasted on cardboard, 1914-1915, inv. 10047.

Gaston Bertrand, The Cinema,
pen and black ink on paper, 1947, inv. 7133.

Paul Joostens, Collage, collage of coloured papers, tin foil and painted ivory piano keys on cardboard, 1922, inv. 6888.

Pierre-Louis Flouquet, Femininity,
pencil with annotations in pencil on (Auvergne) paper, 1922, inv. 7069.

Marcel-G. Lefrancq, Initiation or Open Letter to Monsignor, collage of printed paper on paper, 1939, inv. 7856.

Ernst Engel-Pak, Chimera, pastel on paper, 1932, inv. 7684.

Jean Milo, Poster Design for a Ball at the Palais des Beaux-Arts, pencil on verso of invitation to Oscar Jesper exhibition at Le Centaure, 1945, inv. 7271.

Rachel Baes, Untitled (Princess With Long Hair), pen, coloured pen and pencil on paper, 1952, inv. 11791.

Jozef Peeters, Projects for Initials, pen and brush and black ink with brush and blue ink on paper pasted on cardboard, 1923, inv. 10338/1.

E.L.T. Mesens, Frontispiece for “Alphabet Sourd Aveugle”,
collage of newspaper on photogram with pen and black ink on paper, 1928, inv. 6860.
Paul Joostens, Collage, collage of coloured papers and copperplate on cardboard, 1920, inv. 6887.

The BePAPER project is realised with images produced within the framework of DIGIT,
the digitisation program of the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office (BELSPO).

All reproductions of artworks by Johan Geleyns © RMFAB/SABAM, 2024.
All other photos © RMFAB, 2024 (unless indicated otherwise).

Website © RMFAB, 2024.