- La Libre Esthétique
- Founded on 29 October 1893, La Libre Esthétique (The Free Aesthetic) served as the successor to Les XX in sponsoring annual art exhibitions from 1894 to 1914. To avoid the rivalries and cliques that had plagued its predecessor, the organization, whose founding spirit was provided by Brussels-born lawyer and writer on art Octave Maus (1856-1919), excluded artists from its managing board, which was composed of industrialists, collectors, critics, and patrons drawn from the city's upper social circles. The first exhibition featured some 85 artists and 500 works. Early salons stressed the decorative arts. Symbolism was well represented at the second salon. From 1904, under Maus's stipulation, annual shows centered on specific themes, such as landscape or portraiture, schools from individual countries, and established styles. Although organizers sought to combine modernity with conformity, the novel characteristics formerly so much in evidence at the Les XX salons gave way to increasing emphasis on the past and the proven. Retrospectives predominated at the turn of the 20th century. The salon of 1905 honored impressionist painters from many countries while those of 1906 and 1907 displayed works by the Parisian "Fauves" as well as those of conventional imitators of past styles. The stress on the past marked the final salons.See also Painting.
Historical Dictionary of Brussels. Paul F. State.