125 favourites

acquired with the support of the Rembrandt Association

3 October 2008 - 18 January 2009

In 2008 the Rembrandt Association celebrates its 125th anniversary. Among festivities to mark the occasion will be a major anniversary exhibition in the Van Gogh Museum. More than thirty Dutch museums have collaborated to stage a one-off exhibition showcasing a selection of the best works of art the Rembrandt Society helped them to acquire.

From the beginning the Rembrandt Association successfully focused attention on the need to safeguard the finest Dutch works of art for the nation at times when museums had little or no funds for acquisitions. It was due to the Association’s efforts that paintings by Rembrandt and Vermeer were purchased for public collections. In later years the Association also turned its attention to foreign and modern works of art, which enabled museums to become more than simply temples of the Dutch artistic heritage. In this exciting exhibition some 125 of the most important and striking acquisitions will be shown together for the first and only time.


The exhibition comprises five sections. The first will show key purchases of the last 125 years, spanning the entire breadth of the various collection genres – from a huge Chinese Bodhisattva dating back to the 12th century to Vermeer’s famous Love letter acquired for the Rijksmuseum in 1892.
The second section focuses on works of Dutch art that returned to the Netherlands and works that could be retained in the country such as spectacular drawings by Goltzius, Saenredam and Rembrandt, masterpieces by Ter Brugghen and Metsu and exquisite silverware crafted by the Vianen brothers.
The third section showcases old masters by non-Dutch artists, including works by Goya and Mattia Preti, while the fourth section presents modern and contemporary art by Marc Chagall, Henri
Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675), Love letter (detail), ca. 1666, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Matisse and Willem de Kooning and others, a famous chair by Gerrit Rietveld and two magnificent glasses by Frank Lloyd Wright.
The last section features a selection of acquisitions from the last ten years, such as Edouard Manet’s The jetty of Boulogne-sur-Mer and Bruce Nauman’s video piece Washing hands. The exhibition concept was developed by guest curator Peter Hecht and the design by Wim Crouwel.

Multimedia tour
A multimedia tour offers additional, in-depth information on more than fifteen of the masterpieces featured in this exhibition. Extraordinary stories about the works of art purchased are rendered in word and image. Available in English and Dutch. Price: € 4 (free to members of the Rembrandt Association).

Guided tours
Guided tours of the exhibition can be booked through the cultural events agency Arttra (www.arttra.nl or tel. +31 (0)20 625 93 03).

The exhibition is accompanied by the publication of the book 125 years of public art ownership / with the support of the Rembrandt Association by Peter Hecht. Published by Waanders Publishers, 256 pages, 250 illustrations, in Dutch only. Price: € 29.95 (paperback), € 39.95 (hardcover). Available from the museum shop, via www.vangoghmuseumshop.com or in quality bookstores.

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