Marcel Hastir’s former workshop
When the town house in question was built in 1860, the Leopold Quarter was growing rapidly and Bruxelles-Luxembourg/Brussel-Luxemburg station had recently opened. In around 1900, the building acquired a rear annexe where the upper classes engaged in dancing, fencing and gymnastics. In 1927, the Belgian Theosophical Society acquired the building and made it its home. The painter Marcel Hastir, who had just joined the Society, moved into the second floor of the house in 1935 and soon started doing his artwork there. During the Second World War, he was quick to provide refuge for Resistance fighters in what was ostensibly a drawing and painting school, authorising the printing of anti-Nazi leaflets and forging papers to save people’s lives. Later, Hastir undertook a range of activities (encompassing music, theatre and philosophy), organising lectures by guest speakers such as Nobel Peace Prize winner Georges Pire (also known as Dominique Pire), explorer Alexandra David-Néel and philosopher Lanza del Vasto, a follower of Mahatma Gandhi, as well as recitals by singers Charles Trenet, Jacques Brel and Barbara, concerts by violinist Lola Bobesco and shows by dancer Maurice Béjart. Saved from demolition at the last minute and preserved intact since the artist’s death in 2011, the studio continues to thrive, under the aegis of a foundation bearing Hastir’s name, thanks to a range of concerts, films and lectures perfectly suited to the intimacy of this location. (Listed 23 March 2006)
Guided tours focusing on the building’s history and the painter’s works , Sat. and Sun. at 10:00, 10:30, 11:30, 11:30, 14:00, 14:30, 15:00, 15:30, 16:00, 16:30, and 17:00.
Sat. & Sun., 10:00 to 12:00 and 14:00 to 18:00
Rue du Commerce/Handelsstraat 51, Brussels-Extensions
Guided tours and by reservation only