Spanish Guests: a preview of The Collection Enriched

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo. Madonna and child, circa 1618. Oil on canvas. Loan: Het Mauritshuis.
Bartolomé Esteban Murillo. Madonna and child, circa 1618. Oil on canvas. Loan: Het Mauritshuis.

On show untill 27 November

From Bosch to Goya to Magritte: in the spring of 2011 Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is showing its impressive collection of European painting in a totally new light. For a period of two years the collection will be enriched with masterpieces on loan from collections in the Netherlands and abroad, presenting the best of the art of painting from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century. From 27 November there is a preview of ‘The Collection Enriched’, focussing on Spanish art which is almost entirely absent from the collection of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen.

Over the coming winter months ‘Spanish Guests: a preview of The Collection Enriched’ presents three Spanish masterpieces, demonstrating how the collection can be enriched by interesting loans from Dutch public collections.

Murillo and Goya
Central to the presentation is the painting in ‘The Virgin and Child’ (1628) by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, which King William I gave to the Mauritshuis in The Hague around two hundred years ago. The Mauritshuis later transferred the work to the Rijksmuseum, which in turn lent the painting to Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in 2004. The other star of the show is the anonymous Spanish kitchen still life, which was acquired by patrons on behalf of the Rijksmuseum in 1922. Goya’s masterful Portrait of Don Ramon Satue (1823), one of his greatest works, was acquired in the same way.

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen not only has an exceptional collection of Southern and Northern Netherlandish paintings, but also a unique collection of Western European art. However, the museum has hardly any Spanish art. These Spanish guests demonstrate how the museum’s collection can be enriched by loans and so provides a taster of ‘The Collection Enriched’. The exhibition explains when and with what ambitions the three paintings were brought to the Netherlands.

The Collection Enriched
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is the only museum in the Netherlands whose collection offers a comprehensive overview of the wealth of European painting in general, with a rich representation of Dutch and Flemish art. In ‘The Collection Enriched’, which opens on 16 April 2011, this scope will be extended even further. For a period of two years the museum’s own masterpieces by Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Rubens and Rembrandt, Dürer and Titian, and Kandinsky and Magritte will be joined by paintings by Memling, Tintoretto and Spencer. The display includes many works that have been in storage for several years.

The guest curator for ‘The Collection Enriched’ is Peter Hecht, professor of the history of art at Utrecht University and fellow of the Rembrandt Society. The Rembrandt Society supports Dutch museums by acquiring works of art. In order to increase and share knowledge about the Netherlands’ public collections, it has established the Rembrandt Society fellowship. The exhibition will be designed by stylist Maarten Spruijt together with the artist Peter Struycken, who will select the colours of the walls and give lighting advice.

‘The Collection Enriched’ has been financed by the bequest of Mrs N.C. van Riemsdijk-Borsje (2006), intended for the museum’s collection of Old Masters, and contributions from the BankGiro Loterij, Rembrandt Society, Sikkens and Rabobank.