The Museum of Fine Arts is the only building in Wallonia designed by Victor Horta, and his only museum!
The turtle-shaped museum offers an interesting example of transition from art nouveau to modernism inspired by "Art Deco". The exhibitions rooms are topped by glass cupolas, allowing plenty of natural light to enter the building. A large hall dedicated to sculpture is surrounded by smaller, more intimate exhibition rooms where numerous paintings can be admired. The museum houses the modern art collection of the Brussels patron of the arts Henri Van Cutsem, as well as the only two works by Manet exhibited in Belgium.
His first projects date back to 1907. But two events will postpone its inauguration : the first, the theft of the famous Mona Lisa in Paris. Horta modifies his plans so that a museum attendant standing in the main hall can have a look at all the other rooms. The second, the First World War. The museum is officially opened in 1928.
Apart from the museum, the city can boast many fine Art nouveau private buildings. The architects Gustave Strauven, Georges De Porre, and Paul Clerbaux all left their mark on the city. Some fine examples, decorated with sgraffiti, can in particular be seen in the area around the train station and on Boulevard Roi Albert..