“The work was so beautiful yet Van Mieghem himself had been totally forgotten. I was so impressed that I decided to find out more,” Joos says. His admiration and enthusiasm for Van Mieghem’s raw, impressionist art resulted in the foundation of the Eugeen Van Mieghem Trust that same year. “This painting truly changed my life; it was the beginning of a passion for me.”
Eugeen Van Mieghem grew up in Antwerp’s busy harbour in the late 19th century. His parents owned a tavern which looked out over the docks of the Red Star Line. It was a time of mass immigration and bustling trade, which rapidly transformed Antwerp into Europe’s biggest port. “This greatly influenced Van
Mieghem. Much of his early works depict the hardships of the harbour workers and the scores of immigrants passing through,” Joos says.