Katholieke Kring / Cercle Catholique




Alternative name or descriptor

  • Cercle Catholique d'Anvers

Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules


  • Group


Life dates


1886 - 1914 Anvers, Leopoldplaats<86-01> then Lange Gasthuisstraat<02-14>
The "Société Civile du Cercle Catholique d'Anvers", by its full name, was a social and cultural association, founded in 1874, where aspiring members of the middle class could mix with the established bourgeoisie and local gentry. The first mention of a photography section was in April 1886, when "recently founded, it will take part in the Cercle's art exhibition" (Het Handelsblad, 30.4.1886). The section's activities fluctuated, reaching a high point around the turn of the century. Public exhibitions were held in October 1896, 1899 and March 1900. Judging from the number of exhibitors, the section’s total active membership must have varied between 20 and 30. President was Auguste Van de Velden in 1900, vice-president Pieter De Mey in 1901. Event with music and projection of a couple of hundred images, notably three-colour slides taken by Victor Selb (Het Handelsblad, 13.12.1901).
Further exhibitions were held in 1901 and 1904-1905, the latter described as "the first exhibition of the photography section since its re-foundation" (Het Handelsblad, 25.12.1904). Many exhibitors were also members of one or other of the more dynamic clubs for amateur photographers established in Antwerp. Edmond Brasseur was the president by 1905.
Thereafter, the section's activities were more low-key, according to newspaper reports. There were dinners involving displays of photographs and film projections, and the section also lent slides for public lectures. The most significant initiative in later years was the creation of a spin-off, a "photography section of the Meetingwacht" aimed at junior members of the "Cercle". "The section has been set up to enable Catholic youngsters to meet for wholesome recreation" (Gazet van Antwerpen, 26.11.1911). The total membership of this junior section must have been around 15, based on numbers of exhibitors at exhibitions held in November-December 1911 and in May 1913. The latter was referred to as "the first exhibition since the re-founding of the section" (Het Handelsblad, 7.5.1913). The last recorded mention of the circle's pre-war photographic activities was an announcement of an exhibition, to be held in the Meetingwacht from 29.3.1914 to 5.4.1914.


1886 - 1914 Anvers, Leopoldplaats<86-01> then Lange Gasthuisstraat<02-14>


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Record source



Level of detail

Dates of creation/revision

MD / SFJ new 17.9.2020; SFJ revised 6.12.2020, 27.4.2021 & 30.5.2021 based on information supplied by M. Demaeght; SFJ revised 14.2.2021 based on information supplied by Pool Andries; MD revised 3.11.2020 & 6.7.2021




Maintenance notes