Arcade «Seine et Escaut» (1862)
In 1862 Simonis received an order for four low-reliefs to decorate the façade of the former Gare du Nord, which at the time was situated on place Rogier and demolished in 1956. Four corner pieces were created with "rivers" as the theme: the Scheldt, the Meuse the Seine and the Rhine. An arch, made up f the corner pieces that represent the Meuse and the Rhine, can be found at the Horticulture college in the city of Liège. The other arch, which represents the Seine and the Scheldt, decorates Simonis metro station, which was opened in 1988. In order to characterise the art of Simonis in brief, suffice to say that departing from the neo-classicism of his masters, over the years his works became more and more romantic, yet without excess or outrageousness. In a way, he also made the transition from the 18th to the 19th century, from classicism to romanticism in Belgian sculpture.
Louis-Eugène Simonis (Liège, 1810 - Koekelberg, 1882)
Place Eugène Simonis, and the metro station underneath it are named after one of the greatest Belgian sculptors of the 19th century. Louis-Eugène Simonis was drawn to sculpture very early on. He was first a student of the Liège Academy and he then completed his training in Rome with Dutch artist Mathieu Kessels and the great Italian painter and sculptor Carlo Finelli. In 1836, when he returned from Rome, he set up his workshop in Koekelberg. A few years later, from 1843 to 1848, he worked on the equestrian statue of Godefroid de Bouillon. This statue was rightly considered as a masterpiece of romantic sculpture, and it still proudly dominates over place Royale in Brussels. In 1845 Simonis became a member of the Académie royale de Belgique and began work on the monument to canon Triest, which can still be admired at Saint Michel cathedral. From 1851 to 1854 he worked on the low-relief "L'Harmonie des Passions humaines" (The Harmony of Human Passions), destined to be placed on the pediment of the Théatre royal de la Monnaie. In 1863 he was appointed as a professor of historical expression and composition at the Brussels Academy, where he also succeeded François-Joseph Navez as director. He would remain the director for sixteen years, from 1863 to 1879. He died in Koekelberg on 11 July 1882.