Renilde Hammacher: 100 years

Press release

Renilde Hammacher: ‘A great, stimulating and driving force’
13 April 2013 until 23 February 2014

From this spring Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is celebrating the hundredth birthday of the museum’s first curator of modern and contemporary art, Renilde Hammacher-van den Brande, with an exhibition of key post-war works acquired during her tenure and a display of posters and photographs from the 1960s and 1970s.

Renilde Hammacher-van den Brande will be a hundred years old on Sunday 31 March 2013. From 1962 until 1978 she was curator of modern and contemporary art at the museum and shaped one of the most important museum collections of modern art in the Netherlands. Supported by the then director Coert Ebbinge Wubben, within a period of sixteen years she succeeded in giving the modern art department its own identity.
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is marking this festive occasion with two exhibitions. The display in the entrance area documents the activities of this pioneering curator in the form of posters and photographs. The exhibition in the Van der Steur wing features key works of post-war art acquired by Renilde Hammacher. The archival material and photographs in the exhibition elucidate the acquisition and exhibition history of each work.

Great, stimulating and driving force
In a period in which Surrealism was barely represented in Dutch museums, Renilde Hammacher assembled an extensive collection of important Surrealist masterpieces, including works by Salvador Dalí, René Magritte and Man Ray. She also acquired many important contemporary artworks and curated numerous exhibitions, including solo shows of David Hockney (1970), Mark Rothko (1971), Joe Tilson (1973) and Dan Flavin (1975). 1972 saw the opening of the new Bodon wing, specially designed for displaying contemporary art, where modern art is exhibited to this day. The Surrealist and other classical modern works acquired by Hammacher, including works by H.N. Werkman, Max Ernst and Joan Miró, can be seen in ‘The Collection Enriched’, the museum’s permanent displays of the collection. Looking back on his tenure as museum director in 1978, Coert Ebbinge Wubben referred to Renilde Hammacher as a ‘great, stimulating and driving force’.

Rothko is back
One of the works on view from 13 April is the popular favourite ‘Grey, Orange on Maroon, no. 8’ (1960) by Mark Rothko, which many visitors ask to see. With this exhibition, the museum has made use of the opportunity to show works in a context that makes clear how the collection of modern and contemporary art was assembled in the 1960s and 1970s. In addition to the work by Mark Rothko, the exhibition includes masterpieces by Lee Bontecou, Christo, Jim Dine, R.B. Kitaj, Louise Nevelson and Daniel Spoerri. In the summer these works will be replaced with works that Renilde Hammacher acquired from the mid-1970s that represent more conceptual tendencies, including pieces by Jannis Kounellis, Dennis Oppenheim, Alighiero Boetti and Gilbert & George. Rothko’s monumental painting will be on display for the full duration of the exhibition.

The exhibition is accompanied by a Boijmans Study with an extensive interview with Renilde Hammacher by Marijke Peyser.

On ARTtube you can watch a film in which Renilde Hammacher talks about the Dalí exhibition in 1970. This film will also be shown in the exhibition in the Van der Steur wing.