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up to and including 23 August 2020
Museum Rotterdam

Rotterdam's Studio Secrets

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen and Museum Rotterdam reveal the studio secrets of six artists with roots in Rotterdam.

Delfshaven-born artist Kees van Dongen and the city’s red-light district, the Spanish-Arab fashion worn by women in Rotterdam in the seventeenth century; Dolf Henkes’s Chinese painter’s jacket; the daughters of A.P. van Stolk, the patron of George Hendrik Breitner; Nicolaes Muys, set designer for Rotterdam’s theatres; Pieter de Hooch who left for Delft at a young age; and Trijntje, Hendrick Sorgh’s sister-in-law, who married Rotterdam-born painter Crijn Hendricksz Volmarijn, who owned a painting supplies shop in the city.

These stories, and more, are revealed in ‘Rotterdam's Studio Secrets’ at Museum Rotterdam. Bringing together paintings and objects from the collections of Museum Rotterdam and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, this exhibition tells stories that provide fascinating new insights into Rotterdam’s past.  



Collections come together

The exhibition at Museum Rotterdam introduces visitors to six artists who were born in Rotterdam and lived and worked in the city from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries. It brings together paintings, props and other objects to reveal the studio secrets of Hendrick Sorgh, Pieter de Hooch, Nicolaes Muys, George Hendrik Breitner, Kees van Dongen and Dolf Henkes. Where did they buy their art supplies? Who modelled for them? Uniting the collections of Museum Rotterdam and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen reveals the secrets of these Rotterdam-based artists.

Six artists with roots in Rotterdam

As the sons of a market skipper, a bricklayer, a wallpaper painter, a grain broker, a malt worker and a café owner, all six artists had real roots in Rotterdam. The stories, paintings and objects relating to these artists give the visitor a glimpse into the Rotterdam’s past and the lives these artists led. As Rotterdammers, they painted their everyday surroundings, the streets where they lived and the people they saw. Hendrick Sorgh, for example, painted Rotterdam’s large marketplace. His father owned a boat that transported vegetables to the market, and Sorgh later took over this job. The vegetables they shipped appear in Sorgh’s painting. In the late nineteenth-century, Kees van Dongen frequented the red-light district, the area where the City Hall is now located, where he made drawings of the local nightlife. Objects depicted in the paintings are also featured in the exhibition, making the past tangible.

"The fusion of the two collections creates interconnections that reveal a panoramic view of Rotterdam and its dynamic history."

Sjarel Ex, director of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

Modern studio secrets

For ‘Rotterdam's Studio Secrets’, Museum Rotterdam and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen have invited two contemporary artists who relate to these six painters in very different ways. Monika Dahlberg has made colourful collages based on enlarged photographic prints of historical paintings. André Smits, famous for his Artist in the World project, has photographed more than six hundred artists who work in Rotterdam. Photographs of their studios are included in the exhibition. Specially for the exhibition, Studio Maslow has made an animated route of artists’ studios throughout the city, based on maps from the seventeenth century to the present. Three contemporary Rotterdam artists – Peter Koole, Anna Ramsair and Anton Vrede – also add their secrets to the exhibition.


Boijmans Next Door

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s international collection is being dispersed across Rotterdam. Some 500 masterpieces will be displayed in eleven special exhibitions at eight of the museum’s neighbours under the title ‘Boijmans Next Door’. The exhibitions in these guest venues will create encounters between Boijmans’ collection and that of its neighbours. For example, the Maritime Museum will exhibit a selection of seascapes, while masterpieces by Kandinsky and others will be displayed in the Chabot Museum, opposite Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. In this way, you need not miss the museum’s collection while the building is being renovated.

'Boijmans Next Door' is made possible by stichting droom en daad.

All exhibitions, neighbours and dates

Transit Boijmans Van Beuningen

The museum is now closed for essential renovations. In this transitional period, the museum is making its world-class collection available elsewhere in Rotterdam and further afield. In addition to the ‘Boijmans Next Door’ projects, the museum has also created travelling exhibitions for museums all around the world. And schoolchildren in Rotterdam are being introduced to real artworks from the collection in the project ‘Boijmans in the Classroom’. Meanwhile, the construction of Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen continues apace. The world’s first publicly accessible art-storage facility will open at the beginning of 2021 and will safely house and display 151,000 artworks.

Read more

Exhibition on Location

This exhibition can be seen at Museum Rotterdam, Rodezand 26, 3011 AN Rotterdam. From now on it is possible to reserve a place in a time slot. Visitors can't enter without a reservation. For information about opening hours, admission prizes, etc. 

Museum Rotterdam
Exhibition on Location
Foto door Desiree Schippers

This exhibition is supported by