Information from the museum, 19 July 2011
M possesses a series of four portraits of the Leuven-based Van Diest family. One of them depicts Isala Van Diest (1842–1916). She was the first female doctor in Belgium, but ‘as a woman’, she faced a long struggle before she was able to obtain her degree and practice her profession. She later became a champion of feminism. M is taking this figure as its starting point for an exhibition that examines the position of women in 19th century civil society. Besides Van Diest, the exhibition will shed light on the artist Louise Héger. The two women led comparable lives with regard to fulfilling their professional dreams.
Through portraits and artworks (by Louise Héger and other artists), visitors will discover early feminism and the answers to various questions. What was the position of women in 19th century civil society? How did female artists move in the artistic world of that period?