It was, in more than one respect, one of the most remarkable pavilions of the exhibition, one of the most admired and most worthy of admiration. The modest creators of what was, from an aesthetic point of view, one of the purest jewels of our "world's fair", should be given the highest praise.
They were only a small group of humble Antwerp craftsmen, each with very limited resources, but they were united by an unshakeable solidarity based on an equally passionate love of their craft and their city.
Aware of their expertise and suffering from the fact that their beloved city was not able to achieve its rightful reputation in the field of applied arts, they were determined to seize the opportunity offered by the exhibition to showcase the science, the skilled technique and the sure artistic genius of Antwerp's craftsmen to the world.
Did their dream come true?
Ask the thousands of visitors who have visited their superb pavilion and who have all come away amazed and delighted.
The "Pavillon des Arts Décoratifs" has triumphantly rehabilitated the "Metropolis of the Arts" in this most important area of modern life.
It is beyond our scope to describe in detail this veritable museum of modern art that was the Pavillon des Arts Décoratifs. Let us content ourselves with giving an impression of the room that was particularly noticed: the "Salle de Réception".
This entire room has a character of sumptuous and dignified beauty, all suited to its purpose. Its shades of blue, matte black, gold, and patinated silver, were so skilfully balanced by golden browns, that the danger of making a gloomy whole was avoided. No strident note broke the impression of harmonious calm and intimate simplicity.
This impression is further enhanced by the large decorative panel "Richesse Coloniale", adorning the background, and in which seems to blossom like a song, all the splendour of the room's colouring.
"Richesse Coloniale", of which we give a reproduction above, did not fail to attract the attention of Their Majesties, the King and Queen of the Belgians, during their visit to the Decorative Arts, and they were anxious to express to the artist their warm congratulations.
This composition, whose motifs form a synthesis of the treasures of our colony, is the work of the Antwerp painter Emile Stoffels, who also painted the entire room. He proved to be a decorative artist of rare distinction and fertile imagination.
©Le livre d'or de l'Exposition Internationale Coloniale, Maritime et d'Art Flamand - Anvers 1930