When traveling to a new city, figuring out the best museums and tourist spots to visit is relatively easy. It’s the smaller art spaces and galleries that can be a bit more difficult to track down. Check out our tips for the best independent art galleries to visit in Leuven and follow in the locals’ footsteps.
't Rood Huys
This art gallery mainly showcases the work of ceramist Jan Vander Elst, but has exhibits featuring other artists several times a year. Among the works on display and for sale are functional ceramics such as vases, as well as more decorative materials like mosaics and relief tiles. Vander Elst also has a large collection of hand-made tableware, from cups and plates to bowls. Customisation is an option for buyers interested in having their own exclusive design.
‘t Oogenblik is the art gallery of photographer Johan Van Cutsem where he permanently showcases his own work. Occasionally he displays works by other artists, also mostly with a focus on photography. Once a month the gallery hosts an evening called Fotokafee, where aspiring photographers can bring their own work and gets tips from professionals.
Frans Vanhove has a very diverse collection on show in his art gallery, featuring paintings, sculpture, ceramics, photography and glass art. Artists whose work can be purchased at Frans Vanhove’s gallery are Dirk de Keyzer, Carl Soete and Sadko, among many others. A selection of the works for sale are what Vanhove classifies as ‘affordable art’ and can be bought for reasonable prices.
Atelier 88 is an art gallery run by visual artist Antoon Verbeeck and sculptress Ann Dieltjens, where they display mostly their own work. A big part of Verbeek’s work is a series of oil paintings entitled ‘Lonely Subjects’, which depict lonely subjects against a large white background. Dieltjens makes abstract sculptures that transmit a subtle dynamism.
Galerie Dessers features work by established artists such as Bruno Vekemans, Pierre Alechinsky and Franca Ravet, as well as new up-and-coming talent. Galerie Dessers has a second space in Hasselt, which is also in Belgium, and the combined collection of the two galleries consists of over 200 works.
Sango Art Gallery
Sango Art Gallery specialises in Belgian and Zimbabwean art. Works from famous sculptors from Zimbabwe – such as Henry Munyaradzi, Mike Munyaradzi, Faktor and many others – are or have been on display here. Renowned Belgian artists that can regularly be seen at the gallery are Panamarenko, Koen Vanmechelen, Kobe and Odile Kinart. The gallery owner visits each artist personally and seeks out the pieces for his collection based on their character and feel.