The Collection Two

photo Maarten Laupman
photo Maarten Laupman

Anniversary exhibition from 17 January 2009

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is 160 years old this year. To celebrate this anniversary the museum’s collections are being presented in new displays from 17 January 2009. For the first time the museum’s world-famous collection of prints and drawings is being combined with paintings, sculpture, the applied arts and design. The museum’s prints and drawings collection contains more than 80,000 works of art and is one of the most important collections in the world.

Two years ago the museum opened its chronological displays entitled ‘The Collection One’. ‘The Collection Two’ highlights the largest yet least visible aspect of the museum’s collection. Works on paper are fragile and sensitive to light and so are rarely exhibited publicly. ‘The Collection Two’ presents the prints and drawings alongside paintings, sculptures and household items from the same period, thus emphasising the functional relationships between the various art forms. The public will gain an insight into the meaning, context and creative processes behind the works of art.
Drawing is an intrinsic part of an artist’s training and an important phase in the creative process: sketches and studies are indispensable in the preparation of paintings and prints. Prints are essentially a means of producing multiple copies of a drawing. For artists such as Dürer, Rembrandt and Goya this was an attractive medium to reach a larger audience.

The structure of ‘The Collection Two’ is essentially chronological, but certain art-historical periods receive particular attention. Within painting there is a focus on Rembrandt, Rubens and the Surrealists, and within drawing on Dürer, Michelangelo, Fra Bartolommeo, Rubens, Piranesi, Boucher and Cézanne. Among the highlights of the presentations of household objects are dining culture of the Renaissance, the 17th-century bourgeois interior, modernist design of the 1920s and 1930s, and contemporary design.
The displays of modern art begin with the Dutch Romantics and end with the art of the interwar years. Highlights include the French Impressionists and works on paper from around 1900, including an extraordinary mantelpiece by G.W. Dijsselhof acquired in 2007. Iconic modernist works by Magritte, Dalí and Kokoschka are combined with recent acquisitions by Yves Tanguy, Joseph Cornell and Max Beckmann.

New display cases have been designed for the prints and drawings in ‘The Collection Two’. The contents of the display cases will be changed every three months. The cases and the displays have been designed by the stylist Maarten Spruyt.

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen offers a range of activities for visitors who wish o learn more about the museum’s collections. The programme includes ‘Grab a chair’, a workshop on Italian majolica and free guided tours on Sunday afternoons.

160 Years of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
The museum’s new displays ‘The Collection Two’ celebrate the museum’s 160th anniversary. Since its foundation the museum has assembled one of the richest art collections in the Netherlands. The self-portrait by Fabritius, ‘The Cornfield’ by Ruisdael and ‘The Flight of Medea’ drawn by Rubens are just a few of the masterpieces that have been in the collection since the museum first opened its doors to the public on 3 July 1849. Since then the museum has welcomed more than 12.5 million visitors.

The opening of ‘The Collection Two’ and the launch of the museum’s anniversary celebrations will take place on Saturday 17 January 2009 at midday. In his official opening speech, Rik Grashoff, alderman for culture, will talk about the art of collecting. Several private collectors will also make speeches.

‘The Collection Two’ 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 and the Rabobank.