Rien Ne Va Plus

14 November – 23 December 2021
Exclusively online

Waldburger Wouters is pleased to present
Rien Ne Va Plus
an online group exhibition with

There was initial speculation that he had been targeted by one of the left-wing militant groups that were seizing prominent industrialists across Europe at the time. But it quickly emerged that the abductors' motive was old-fashioned extortion. They contacted the family demanding 80m francs - the equivalent of about 50m euros (£45m) in today's money. The ransom note came with a packet containing the baron's left little finger.


As kidnappings - both criminal and political - were becoming increasingly frequent, police decided to set an example, and vetoed plans by the family to pay up.


Instead, they lured the kidnappers to a rendezvous point. But the ambush was botched and the ensuing shootout left two officers wounded.


One of the abductors was killed and another was captured, but the baron was still chained up in a hideaway in a Paris suburb.

Baron Edouard-Jean Empain
Archive

Julien Saudubray
Tavla #1
2021
Dry pastel and linseed oil on paper
42 x 30 cm
Julien Saudubray
Tavla #2
2021
Dry pastel and linseed oil on paper
42 x 30 cm
Julien Saudubray
Tavla #3
2021
Dry pastel and linseed oil on paper
42 x 30 cm

In 1978 Baron Edouard-Jean Empain, then head of the Schneider Group, was seized at gunpoint from his chauffeur-driven car near his home in Paris.


He was held for 63 days, chained in darkness, starved, and beaten.
The case grabbed attention when the kidnappers cut off his fingertip and threatened further mutilation unless his family paid a huge ransom.


Baron Empain was 40 at the time, and one of France's leading captains of industry. His Schneider group comprised some 300 companies and employed 150,000 people worldwide.


He was the grandson of Edouard Empain, who had been ennobled by the King of the Belgians after building an industrial empire in the late 19th Century.


During the investigation, police had to delve into his private life to look for possible clues. As a result, his infidelities and gambling sprees became widely known. Public sympathy for him was limited and his wife divorced him shortly after his release.


Empain was left bitter, feeling people had turned against him. He eventually withdrew from business life.

The story of Baron Empain inspired us for the online exhibition 'Rien Ne Va Plus' on games and gambles.

Ludovic Beillard

​The Early Bird Gets the Worm, But the Second Mouse Gets the Cheese

2019

Ayous, found wood, resin, nails, flies

50 x 25 x 25 cm

Clément Jacques - Vossen

Coup du berger

2021

Acrylic and oil painting on canvas

120 x 160 cm

Clément Jacques - Vossen
C7-E7-G7
2021
Ink & acrylic on paper
21 x 29 cm
Clément Jacques - Vossen
1B-1G
2021
Ink & acrylic on paper
21 x 29 cm

Eric Giraudet de Boudemange
La Mesnie Hellequin 1
2014
Charm wood, acrylic, steel hook
90 x 5 cm

Marlies De Clerck
Little Wheel (1-6)
2021
Oil on canvas
30 x 20 cm
Marlies De Clerck
Little Wheel (1-6)
2021
Oil on canvas
30 x 20 cm

Marlies De Clerck
Little Wheel (1-6)
2021
Oil on canvas
30 x 20 cm

Eric Giraudet de Boudemange
La Mesnie Hellequin 2
2014
Charm wood, acrylic, steel hook
90 x 5 cm
Eric Giraudet de Boudemange
La Mesnie Hellequin 3
2014
Charm wood, acrylic, steel hook
90 x 5 cm
Marlies De Clerck
Little Wheel (1-6)
2021
Oil on canvas
30 x 20 cm
Unknown Artist
Napoleon III card game box containing a complete Indian pattern card deck
19th century

Kyveli Zoi

EMOTIONAL GAMBLE

2021

Oil on linen

20 x 25 cm

Kyveli Zoi

BROKEN CULTURE (Gamble of Pesos)

2021

Oil on linen

35 x 45 cm

Unknown Artist
Napoleon III card game box containing a complete Indian pattern card deck
19th century
Unknown Artist
Napoleon III card game box containing a complete Indian pattern card deck
19th century
Viager
Kramtou
2021
tray and container: Cement and marble, pigments, steel, automotive paint, oak, dye
35 x 35 x 30 cm
Viager
Kramtou
2021
tray and container: Cement and marble, pigments, steel, automotive paint, oak, dye
35 x 35 x 30 cm

Gerard Herman

verrader in ons midden (traitor in our midst/traître parmi nous)

2021

Cardboard box, wooden pawns

31,5 x 22,5 x 5 cm

The detained kidnapper, Alain Caillol, convinced his accomplices to release their captive. Two days later the baron was found wandering the streets south of Paris, disorientated and emaciated - with a 10-franc note his captors had given him to get home.

Caillol later said they had experienced "Stockholm syndrome in reverse" - where the kidnappers end up sympathising with their victim.
"He dominated us morally. Everyone saw in him the dream of what he wanted to be: handsome, rich, powerful, intelligent," Caillol told APF news agency in 2012, the year in which Baron Empain died at the age of 80.

Xu Zhen
Nirvana
2019
Installation, performance; sand, wood, acrylic, mixed materials
Courtesy the artist and Perrotin
1978 : L’enlèvement du baron Empain
Archive INA
Affaire Sensible: Podcast
Necrology BBC: Press
Learn More

Gerard Herman

verrader in ons midden (traitor in our midst/traître parmi nous)

2021

Cardboard box, wooden pawns

31,5 x 22,5 x 5 cm

Gerard Herman

verrader in ons midden (traitor in our midst/traître parmi nous)

2021

Cardboard box, wooden pawns

31,5 x 22,5 x 5 cm