Spanning art from the 19th and 20th centuries to the present day, the impressive displays take in major movements such as impressionism, post-impressionism, surrealism, abstraction and social realism. There are works by local, regional and international names including nine major works by one of Belgium’s most famous artists – René Magritte. Other renowned names include Magritte’s fellow surrealist Paul Delvaux and earlier fellow Belgian James Ensor, whose work was a major influence on the surrealists. The collection was originally the brainchild of Walloon lawyer, cultural critic and politician Jules Destrée. With a passion for local and new international art, he began buying bronzes and neoclassical artworks and in 1911, after holding two major Salons des Arts in the city, suggested creating a permanent art museum in Charleroi.