Johan Thorn Prikker - Beyond Art Nouveau

The Game of Life (1901-1902). Wall painting in the hall and staircase of the villa De Zeemeeuw (The Seagull), Scheveningen. Approx. 10 x 4 metres. Executed in collaboration with Johan Altorf
The Game of Life (1901-1902). Wall painting in the hall and staircase of the villa De Zeemeeuw (The Seagull), Scheveningen. Approx. 10 x 4 metres. Executed in collaboration with Johan Altorf

13 November 2010 - 13 February 2011

This autumn Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is showing more than 200 highlights from the multifaceted oeuvre of Johan Thorn Prikker (1868-1932). This is the first major exhibition devoted to one of the most prominent designers from the heyday of Dutch art at the beginning of the twentieth century. Beyond Art Nouveau illustrates Thorn Prikker’s enormous creativity and love of experimentation.

Johan Thorn Prikker gained recognition early in his career for his paintings and drawings, which are among the finest examples of Symbolist art in the Netherlands. However, Thorn Prikker soon became an ardent exponent of the applied arts. He abandoned traditional easel painting in favour of a wide range of other media from watercolours, textiles, book covers and stained glass to wall paintings, furniture, mosaics and carpets. Thorn Prikker was more than just an Art Nouveau designer; he was one of the first Dutch artists to enjoy an international reputation.

Stained glass
In the large Bodon galleries visitors will gain an insight into Johan Thorn Prikker’s diverse body of work. The exhibition embraces all the disciplines in which he worked. Thorn Prikker’s stained-glass windows occupy a prominent position within the display. At the centre of the exhibition is a chapel in which the visitor can experience the locations for which his stained-glass windows were originally designed. The light in this space brings the colourful designs to life. Several of the windows are part of the museum’s collection; one of them was donated by D.G. van Beuningen to celebrate the opening of Museum Boymans’ new building in 1935.

Johan Thorn Prikker, an international phenomenon
Johan Thorn Prikker (1868-1932) trained as a painter at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. In 1904, following his initial success, he left the Netherlands to teach at the School of Applied Arts in Krefeld (Germany). Here he gave full expression to his diverse creative talents. A few years later Thorn Prikker created his first stained-glass window for the railway station in Hagen with the appropriate title ‘The Artist as Teacher of Trade and Industry’. He ran his own department at the applied art schools in Munich, Düsseldorf and Cologne and so had an unrivalled influence on German monumental art. He enjoyed great success both in Germany and the Netherlands until his death in 1932.

Beyond Art Nouveau is a partnership with Museum Kunst Palast in Düsseldorf, where the exhibition will be shown in the spring of 2011. The exhibition has been curated by the Thorn Prikker expert, Christiane Heiser, and is accompanied by a richly illustrated catalogue with essays by twelve specialists from the Netherlands, Germany and Canada. The catalogue is a co-production with Museum Kunst Palast and is available in Dutch and German.
A series of workshops and lectures will be organised during the exhibition. For more information visit our website: A film about Johan Thorn Prikker will be posted on the museum’s online video channel at the end of November:

The Bodon galleries are also host to a retrospective exhibition of the work of Hella Jongerius. Both exhibitions coincide with a major survey of masterpieces by the painter, Kees van Dongen.

The exhibition has been organised in partnership with BankGiro Loterijmuseum kunst palast  in Düsseldorf, SNS REAAL Fonds, K.F. Hein Fonds, Stichting Elise Mathilde Fonds, Stichting Bevordering van Volkskracht and is part of the official programme of Holland Art Cities 2010-2011.