The museum

Brief history of the No. 10 in the rue des Amours

from 1893 until today


In 1893, the Municipal Administration changed the name 'rue du Curé' into 'rue des Amours', probably because down this street (the section that became the 'rue Vital Roland' in 1938), a short trail before a thick bush had become the discrete refuge for lovers during party nights on the 'place des Martyrs'... 

The building located right in the middle of this street, had had many different functions before it became the Centre for engravings and prints !

It was built in the early 20th century. In March 1935, its owner obtained the permit in order to build a public swimming pool in this place. According to history, someone would have drowned there on the opening day, due to which this new entertainment place got a bad reputation. Only the white tiles and an inclined plane in a part of the subsoil have remained from that period.

This building, which was sold in 1942, successively became a warehouse, a perfume factory, a luna park and even an electrical appliance store of the 'Magec' brand.

Around 1960, it was rented by the Municipal Administration, which was accommodating its offices in it during the construction of the new city hall.

Finally, the city of La Louvière bought the building in 1969 in order to create exhibition and conference rooms in it; the media centre would be accommodated in it for some time. 

In 1979, the Municipal Council approved a preliminary draft intended to transform it into place that would be dedicated to the art of engraving and prints.

In 1986, architect Hubert Pourtois and interior architect Jean Glibert started the works for the renovation of the building. This renovation would meet the functions that the Centre was considering in those days: the conservation, promotion and diffusion as well as the research in the field of the art of printing. 

Finally, in 1988, the Municipal Administration made this renovated building available for the non-profit organisation called 'Centre for engravings and prints', belonging to the French Community. The Centre, which had already been existing for 4 years at that moment and was managed by André Balthazar, could then flourish.

This way, three ventilated floors finished with columns include beautiful, exceptionally large exhibition spaces, offices, a library and a consultation room. In the basement, there are many storage spaces, rooms in which the art works can be stocked and a framing atelier.

In 1995, Catherine de Braekeleer succeeded André Balthazar, who took his pension.

In 2011, the Centre for engravings was entirely renovated and extended by almost 1.000 m2 thanks to a double financing by the Wallonia - Brussels Federation and the city of La Louvière. These works were entrusted to the architectural office 'E. Spitzer sc. sprl'.  

The main goal of these works was to realize the rooms designed in order to accommodate our collections according to the optimum temperature and hygrometry conditions as well as to solve the lack of space resulting from the increase of our funds.

Moreover, this extension allowed the mediation department to enjoy autonomous spaces adapted to its multiple activities and allowed a public particularly interested in graphical creations to have access to meeting rooms for workshops, seminars and conferences. This new extension also allowed us to create engraving and typography ateliers.

The Centre also disposes of an atelier with modern equipment in order to realize its own scenographies and customized frames. Since the Centre wanted to welcome all types of public, it has made sure that it would be able to better welcome persons with reduced mobility by means of this extension, with regard to the traffic as well as with regard to the access to the sanitary facilities.   

In order to meet the decree on the integration of art works in public buildings, Christophe Terlinden (1969, Etterbeek) designed an art work for the new wing of the Centre for engravings: three potatoes engraved in bronze and placed in a niche tiled in the same way as a swimming pool (reference to the No. 10 in de rue des Amours in 1930), remind of the art of printing's origin. The 'word', the 'idea' and the 'image' are united and mixed in it; they are overlapping each other or bumping into each other.