Creating the display cases for the Louvre Abu Dhabi is a monumental challenge. Nick Leech speaks to the craftsmen from Meyvaert in Ghent, Belgium to discover the craft behind the art.
When it comes to cultural exports, Belgium has a track record that extends far beyond the standard cliches of brewing, chocolate, waffles and moules-frites.
Even before the country was established in 1830, Flemish artists such as Jan van Eyck, the Breugels (elder and younger), Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony van Dyck were responsible for some of history’s most compelling works of art.
More recently, the singer Jacques Brel, Herge, creator of Tintin, and the great surrealist artist Rene Magritte helped to define the way we remember the 20th century.
Less well known is the country’s more recent contribution to the world of museums and, more particularly, to the way many of us look at art.
Modern Belgian masterpieces can be seen in more than 1,000 museums and galleries, including the Louvre in Paris, the J Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the Hermitage in St Petersburg and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. But not a single one is labelled.
If that sounds unfair, it is not a problem for the engineers and technicians from Meyvaert, a family business established seven generations ago in the Belgian port city of Ghent.
Meyvaert is not in the business of making art. Its forte is in making its work invisible, while drawing attention to the artworks its display cases contain…
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