Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen gets the second part of its name from Daniël George van Beuningen. His house was hung full with his favourite artworks, which were integrated into his everyday life. Every inch of wall space was covered with paintings. Pieter Bruegel’s ‘The Tower of Babel’ hung above a stove on which, according to his granddaughter, he regularly fried eggs and bacon.
Van Beuningen received advice on his art purchases from Museum Boymans director Dirk Hannema and art dealer Jacques Goudstikker. He had broad tastes and was just as likely to by a painting by Titian as he was to purchase a landscape by Monet. His great passion, however, was early Netherlandish painting. The crowning glory in his collection was ‘The Three Marys at the Tomb’ by Jan van Eyck, which he purchased in 1940 for a fortune from an English collection. It was flown to Rotterdam in a private plane five days before the city was bombed.
During his life, Van Beuningen gifted numerous works of art to the museum, including the famous Achilles series by Peter Paul Rubens. He died on 19 May 1955. Three years later Rotterdam City Council purchased the lion’s share of his collection for the Museum Boymans. To mark this important acquisition, his name was added to that of the museum.