Alexandra Gaba-van Dongen, curator pre-industrial design, talks about the special exhibition, which will be displayed in the museum from next Saturday 24 September.
1. Why an exhibition about Elie van Rijckevorsel?
This prominent Rotterdam physicist, explorer and collector donated his collection of old decorative art (European glass and Eastern porcelain) to the former ‘Museum Boymans', this collection was the basis of the current collection of Arts & Design. Furthermore, he established the Erasmus Foundation in 1911 to promote arts, science and education. The Rotterdam museums are arranging exhibitions in relation to this anniversary and the publication will be launched.
2. What is displayed at the exhibition?
Prior to his donation to Museum Boymans, Van Rijckevorsel already donated 19th century ethnographic collections from Indonesia and Brazil to the current Wereldmuseum in the 70s and 80s. That’s the reason why the exhibition in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen has been set up as a ‘collection of collections’, where a broad selection of both his collections of ethnographic and old decorative art is brought together again.
3. What are the 'must see' objects?
Hardly ever mixtures of various objects, which originally belonged to one collection, are exhibited in museums any more, which is what makes this exhibition a special experience. For example, the outfit and weaponry of a head-hunter from Borneo are displayed next to delicate Chinese porcelain and sparkling European wine glasses. The exhibition also presents some new insights into a number of objects from the donation of Van Rijckevorsel. For example, there is a new attribution to the splendour still life of the Antwerp painter Petrus Willebeeck and the mysterious previous female owner of the monumental rummer, the so-called ‘Lady Harvey Glass’ will be disclosed.