From Bosch to Goya to Magritte: in the spring of 2011 Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen showed its impressive collection of European painting in a totally new light. For a period of two years the collection was enriched with masterpieces on loan from collections in the Netherlands and abroad, presenting the best of the art of painting from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century. From 27 November 2010 there was a preview of ‘The Collection Enriched’, focussing on Spanish art which is almost entirely absent from the collection of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen.
Central to the presentation was the painting in ‘The Virgin and Child’ by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1628-1682), which King William I gave to the Mauritshuis in The Hague around two hundred years ago. The Mauritshuis later transferred the work to the Rijksmuseum, which in turn lent the painting to Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in 2004. The other star of the show was the anonymous Spanish kitchen still life, which was acquired by patrons on behalf of the Rijksmuseum in 1922. Goya’s masterful Portrait of Don Ramon Satue (1823), one of his greatest works, was acquired in the same way.
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen not only has an exceptional collection of Southern and Northern Netherlandish paintings, but also a unique collection of Western European art. However, the museum has hardly any Spanish art. These Spanish guests demonstrated how the museum’s collection could be enriched by loans and so provides a taster of ‘The Collection Enriched’. The exhibition explained when and with what ambitions the three paintings were brought to the Netherlands.
The Collection Enriched
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is the only museum in the Netherlands whose collection offers a comprehensive overview of the wealth of European painting in general, with a rich representation of Dutch and Flemish art. In ‘The Collection Enriched’, which opened on 16 April 2011, this scope was extended even further. For a period of two years the museum’s own masterpieces by Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Rubens and Rembrandt, Dürer and Titian, and Kandinsky and Magritte were joined by paintings by Memling, Tintoretto and Spencer. The display included many works that had been in storage for several years.
The guest curator for ‘The Collection Enriched’ was Peter Hecht, professor of the history of art at Utrecht University and fellow of the Rembrandt Society. The Rembrandt Society supports Dutch museums by acquiring works of art. In order to increase and share knowledge about the Netherlands’ public collections, it has established the Rembrandt Society fellowship. The exhibition was designed by stylist Maarten Spruijt together with the artist Peter Struycken, who selected the colours of the walls and gave lighting advice.
The Collection Enriched has been made possible in part by: our chief sponsor, KPN; and our chief patron, the Rembrandt Association. With thanks to Sikkens, BankGiro Loterij and Rabobank Rotterdam. Additional funding was supplied by the bequest of Mrs van Riemsdijk-Borsje.