Behind the Scenes

Anselm Kiefer, Wohin wir uns wenden im Gewitter der Rosen, ist die Nacht mit Dornen erhellt, 1998, acrylic, oil-paint, emulsion, metal and dried plants on canvas, 380 x 796 cm, De Heus-Zomer collectio Videostill restoration Kiefer, Videostill restoration Kiefer, Videostill restoration Kiefer, Videostill restoration Kiefer,

Press Release

Behind the Scenes
Restoration of a Monumental Kiefer
1 August 2013

The restoration of a monumental Kiefer from the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen collection is a splendid example of public-private cooperation. This work, ‘Wohin wir uns…’, was given on long-term loan by the collectors Mr and Mrs De Heus-Zomer. A special video report can now be seen on

In May, Gwendolyn Boeve-Jones, in collaboration with the Redivivus restoration workshop, restored Anselm Kiefer’s 1998 work 'Wohin wir uns wenden im Gewitter der Rosen, ist die Nacht mit Dornen erhellt’. Kiefer built up the work with paint, sometimes mixed with sand, placed metal wires on the canvas and worked dried flowers into it. In so doing he created a complex layered effect, but these different materials also make the work delicate. It was carefully restored and consolidated in close consultation with Henk and Victoria de Heus-Zomer. The process took place behind closed doors, but is now being revealed to the public in an ARTtube video.

When the De Heus-Zomers bought the monumental work, which measures almost four by eight metres, in 2011, they realized that they would not be able to show it in their own home as the painting is simply too large, so they contacted Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. This choice was prompted in part by Henk de Heus’s business links with the city of Rotterdam. This fairly recent work by Kiefer is also a good fit in the existing collection of Kiefer’s works which the museum began to purchase in 1978. In the summer of 2012 this painting and a selection from the museum’s collection were shown in The Collection: German Art from Kiefer to Henning. This exhibition gave an impression of the strong tradition of painting in Germany and at the same time demonstrated how the museum collection can be enhanced with work from private collections.

Anselm Kiefer
Anselm Kiefer (1945) is one of Germany’s most important and most controversial contemporary artists. His oeuvre consists of different clusters of works that examine the fundamental aspects of human life, such as myths, nature and German history. He paints – often on a monumental scale – sombre landscapes, snow-covered graves, abandoned buildings and historic figures. The landscape as post-apocalyptic wilderness is a recurring theme in Kiefer’s work.

Chinese Art in the Summer of 2014
The collaboration with the De Heus-Zomers will not end after this restoration process –quite the reverse. A selection from their collection of contemporary Chinese art will go on display in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in the summer of 2014 in a wide-ranging exhibition featuring work by important Chinese artists like Zhang Huan, Hai Bo, Zhang Xiaogang and Wang Guangle.

A Glimpse of Tomorrow
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is hoping to open the doors of the new Collection Building in 2017. In this building it will be possible to make large-scale restoration projects involving works from its own collection and private collections accessible to the public. The museum regards the conservation of work that is entrusted to the collection as one of its key tasks. For private collectors the museum is an important expertise partner in the areas of exhibiting, storage, restoration and conservation.