Newsletter Spring 2008
Spring 2008

Art in Focus: Lyrical

Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944), Lyrical, 1911, oil on canvas, 94 x 130 cm, acquired 1936.
Private collectors have always played a very important part in the history of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. This also goes for Kandinsky ‘s Lyrical, which was donated to the museum.

Around 1905 Marie Tak van Poortvliet (1871-1936) met the artist Jacoba van Heemskerck (1876-1923). Their lifelong friendship certainly contributed to Marie Tak van Poortvliet’s enthusiasm for modern art. From 1912 onwards this prosperous daughter of a Dutch minister of Home Affairs built up a collection of contemporary art which was one of the most progressive of its period. As an active follower of the anthroposophist Rudolf Steiner, she was devoted to the spiritual in art just as much as in other things. Mondriaan and Kandinsky played a prominent role in her collection.

In 1932 Marie Tak van Portvliet loaned a number of her best paintings to the Hague Municipal Museum and to Museum Boijmans and when she died in 1936 she bequeathed them to these two museums. This is how Lyrical by Kandinsky came to Rotterdam and Mondrian’s Red Tree to The Hague. The fact that Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen had this Kandinsky masterpiece in its possession was an important factor in their decision to purchase a batch of eleven paintings made by this pioneer of modern art in 1964, all of them originating from the Guggenheim Museum Collection in New York.