Andries Bonger (1861-1936) was a Dutch collector and a good friend of the brothers Vincent and Theo van Gogh. Andries was also the brother of Theo’s wife Jo Bonger, who later managed the Van Gogh collection and as such, is part of the very beginnings of the Van Gogh Museum.
Andries Bonger lived in Paris for several years, as did Vincent and Theo. While in the city, he got to know the French artist Odilon Redon (1840-1916), with whom he became close friends. They shared a passion for music, literature and art.
Between 1894 and 1908, Bonger amassed an impressive collection of artworks by Redon: dark charcoal drawings, but also colourful pastels, paintings and wall decorations. With these works, he transformed his house in Amsterdam into a veritable Parisian palace.
Bonger considered the mysterious work of the symbolist artist to be the epitome of modern art. Instead of focusing on the visible reality in his work, Redon concentrated on the subconscious and the conceptual world.
Andries Bonger and Odilon Redon wrote each other hundreds of letters in which they shared their thoughts on Redon’s work and Bonger’s collection.
The exhibition Andries Bonger and Odilon Redon. Kindred Spirits reveals this personal exchange between artist and collector using quotes from their infinitely rich correspondence. Also on display are over 30 exquisite works by Redon from Bonger’s collection, which are now part of the Van Gogh Museum collection.