Mad About Surrealism

Dalí, Ernst, Magritte, Miró... from the Collections of Roland Penrose, Edward James, Gabrielle Keiller and Ulla and Heiner Pietzsch

from February 11 2017 until May 28 2017

Mad About Surrealism

From 11 February to 28 May 2017, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is proud to present Mad About Surrealism, an unprecedented survey of the Surrealist movement with masterpieces from four famous European collections. The majority of the works have rarely or never been exhibited publicly and will disappear behind closed doors again at the end of May 2017.

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s spring 2017 exhibition explores the magical world of Surrealism. In partnership with renowned museums in Edinburgh and Hamburg, the museum is showing how artists such as Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, René Magritte and Joan Miró used their passion and imagination to subvert everyday reality. 


Mad About Surrealism is an unprecedented survey of Surrealism, showing the full range and diversity of this famous movement. The exhibits come from the collections of four legendary private collectors: the British aristocratic poet Edward James (1907-1984) and British artist Roland Penrose (1900-1984) were friends of artists such as Salvador Dalí, René Magritte and Max Ernst. The British collector Gabrielle Keiller (1908-1995) assembled an impressive library in addition to her art collection. The German entrepreneurs Ulla and Heiner Pietzsch began collecting Surrealist art in the 1970s and are still highly active in this field. 


Mad About Surrealism reveals not only the passion of the Surrealists themselves but also that of their collectors. The exhibition fits perfectly with the profile of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, which is the only Dutch museum with an extensive, world-class Surrealist collection. The basis for this collection was laid by Renilde Hammacher (1913-2014), the museum’s senior curator of modern art from 1962 to 1978. In 1970 she brought Dalí to Rotterdam to open a retrospective exhibition of his work. This brought her into contact with Edward James, from whom she purchased several important works by Dalí and Magritte in the 1970s with extra funds made available by the City of Rotterdam. 


Mad About Surrealism: Dalí, Ernst, Magritte, Miró...from the collections of Roland Penrose, Edward James, Gabrielle Keiller and Ulla and Heiner Pietzsch has been curated by three renowned museums: the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh, the Hamburger Kunsthalle and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. In the Netherlands, Mad About Surrealism has been made possible with the generous support of Fonds21, the Mondriaan Fund, the VSBfonds, the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds and the K.F. Hein Fonds. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue with essays by experts on Surrealism. 

British press on Surreal Encounters in Edinburgh

- The Daily Telegraph: "Thrilling odysseys into the bizarre"
- The Herald: "Exhibition is the surreal deal"
- Arts Press: "Surreal Encounters is what I’d call a stunner"


This exhibition will be on view in the galleries C, D and E on the second floor.