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Research into Nineteenth-Century Works in the Collection

In October 2021, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen was able to start investigating nineteenth-century artworks in the collection thanks to a grant from the Mondriaan Fund.

The museum has a major collection of nineteenth-century works of art, from paintings and sculptures to a substantial number of works on paper – ranging from renowned painters such as Vincent van Gogh to unknown artists like Piet Meiners and Suze Robertson. This part of the collection has grown dramatically thanks to the collecting policy and the gifting tradition of previous generations. Previously the focus was primarily on art from before 1750 and modern contemporary art from 1918, but thanks to the Mondriaan Fund the museum can now put more emphasis on works dating from the era in between.  

Different Perspectives

The museum wants to make the nineteenth-century works (1870-1914), which besides paintings and sculptures include some 4,500 works on paper, more accessible in the collection online and in an online collection catalogue. As part of this, the museum wants to give greater exposure to less well-known artists and create greater scope for viewpoints other than the standard stories about the collection.

One interesting theme, for example, is the undervalued importance of female collectors and donors in the collection. There are more than twenty women among the donors, each with a story to tell. The nineteenth-century collection contains works by some ten female artists, including Julie de Graag and Thérèse Schwartze. A modest number compared with male artists, but well worth investigating in greater depth.

The museum also recognizes the importance of a more diverse perspective, for example by looking at the artist’s origins, religion and sexuality. In future this will make it easier for a broader cross-section of the public to identify with the stories and artworks.

Corona Regulation Grant for Collection Management Personnel

This investigation into the nineteenth-century collection is being made possible by the Mondriaan Fund’s 'Corona Regulation Grant for Collection Management Personnel'. Under this regulation the museum can take on two people to work full-time on the investigation. On 1 October 2021 Bram Donders started researching ways of enriching the information about the nineteenth-century painting collection. Lisette Sulenta will start work as a collection assistant on 1 December 2021, providing better access to the collection of nineteenth-century prints and drawings.