- How did this passion for tools come about?

Redemptorist Father Jean Sartenaer

- The world of their shapes triggered my interest. I started by buying blacksmith's tools. Their simple structure, marked by a certain rigor of form, met the taste for order that is in me.

Van Lint



Tool creation has, from the very beginning of the human species, been one of humanity's defining  characteristics. Our history as a species is a story told by our tools, beginning with the most rudimentary examples up to more sophisticated present-day artifacts of human skill and artistry; Our tools bear witness to our species’ evolution.


"It is a fascinating universe."


 Tools have served to extend the human capacity to do work and at the same time have provided a means for artistic self-expression. As a result, craftsmen and artisans have blurred the line between simple utility and artistry. Simple tools are often produced in ways not strictly dictated by mechanical purpose but rather by an aesthetic intent whose actualization sometimes gives rise to objects of remarkable beauty and diversity of form. Tools are worthy of collection both as a significant element of our patrimony and also as works of art.


"Their forms are functional by nature, and yet grace emerges from them."


Tools brought together in museums and private collections carry the imprint of both those who fashioned them and those who were interested in them enough to give them a second incarnation as objects to be enjoyed and appreciated by future generations. Among these many gatherings, the Van Lint collection is particularly noteworthy.


"Your collection is extraordinary"

Philippe Roberts-Jones, then director of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium

Louis Van Lint, a major figure in post-war Belgian painting, worked from an early age in his father’s small building and plastering business for many years. When his artistic calling manifested itself in his youth, this tireless worker divided his time between painting and manual labor until his 30s. He never forgot this seminal contact with wood, metal, and the artistry and nobility of tools.


"I am delighted to have participated in a very modest way in the realization of this great oeuvre."

Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg

In light of this information, one better understands what must have pushed him to collect tools throughout his life. Lint's understanding and respect for artisan's tool, combined with his aesthetic sensibility, made it possible for him to amass an extraordinary assemblage of tools chosen for their aesthetic qualities over a period of around fifty years, constituting what the painter increasingly regarded as a total artwork. A veritable oeuvre, the collection was, for a long time, exhibited on the painter’s villa walls, where it elicited the admiration of many celebrated visitors.

This site aims to be a window into Van Lint's world, an opportunity to admire in images some fragments of this fabulous collection. We hope that you enjoy exploring it.


- "And they are your tools [...] In spite of the lyricism and poetry which is inherent in all your paintings, there is always this wish to cling to certain forms. You are a lover of forms."

Liliane Thorn-Petit

- "Indeed, in my paintings there are certain forms that recall these tools, their shapes, their movement. But in reality, I thought about it and I said to myself: as you like, as you are fond of these forms, the subconscious, without your knowledge, gives them back in your paintings."

Van Lint



From the 30’s, Van Lint started to collect tools, for the love of their pure forms, their simplicity, their language.

Louis Van Lint inspecting a old tool



Louis Van Lint inspecting a old tool at an open market.


Some of these tools were on display in his studio.

Louis Van Lint in his studio, with two tools of his collection in the background.


Louis Van Lint in his studio, with two tools of his collection in the background.

The collection quickly became considerable and from the 70’s he exhibited a part of it on a wall of his living room.

These organized forms become little by little the holders of a total work of art.

Louis Van Lint in his living room. Part of his tools collection covers the wall in the background.


Louis Van Lint in his living room. Part of his tools collection covers the wall in the background.

The collection has triggered the curiosity of painting collectors or friends as the Grand

Duke Jean of Luxembourg, Hergé, René Magritte, Marcel Stal, Heinrich Simons, Thomas

Neirynck and many others.

Louis Van Lint with the Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg, with the tool his Royal Highness presented to the artist.
Courtesy of the Grand Ducal Family.