Ensor|Spilliaert|Permeke unlocked

Mu.ZEE makes the works of three great masters and their contemporaries digitally accessible

In the Mu.ZEE museum collection, the three great masters, James Ensor, Léon Spilliaert and Constant Permeke, are well represented. Thanks to a ‘digital collection registration catch-up movement’ project grant from the Flemish Government, Mu.ZEE was able to conduct in-depth research, register and make digitally available the artistic works of these three ‘Ostend residents’ for one year via our museum website.

Ostend and James Ensor are inextricably linked. He loved his Ostend: the city was his muse and source of inspiration. Léon Spilliaert, more than twenty years younger than Ensor, has also associated his name with the Queen of Seaside Resorts. His nocturnal wanderings through the city and long walks along the beach led him to create his best works. Constant Permeke, although born in Antwerp, but brought up in Ostend, was equally attracted to the North Sea and everyday life in and around this city. Bringing together the research data provides an insight into the artistic centres of the twentieth century, in Ostend but also far beyond. In addition to art-historical research into the artworks, we also form an impression of the artists’ networks, their relationships with each other and their contemporaries, through the archives available.

In concrete terms, this means that in the project we enhance the existing collection with metadata, with high-quality reproductions of the artworks and that we make all this available on this website. During registration, we supplement basic data, but we also capture existing knowledge in keywords (iconographic and associative), so that the basic registration is extended, supplemented or enhanced. The in-depth registration, as we call it, makes the artworks easier to find in collection databases. We make the qualitative metadata available as open data, which means that research, registration and digitisation are published on various platforms. In the first instance, the museum website, but also the umbrella website of the Flemish Art Collection. Moreover, the works of James Ensor and Léon Spilliaert are already in the public domain. A momentum that we want to seize to also publish our research on Wikidata.