From 30 September 2018 to 3 February 2019, on the initiative of the Rembrandt Association, the Kröller-Müller Museum is staging the exhibition For the love of art. For one time only, more than 80 important acquisitions from 40 Dutch museums are brought together, all of which were acquired with the support of the Rembrandt Association in the past ten years. For the love of art shows the full range of museum acquisitions: paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures and much more. The oldest work is about three thousand years old, the most recent dates from 2016. With this exhibition, the partners emphasize the importance of (continuing to collect for) the Dutch National Collection, which is accessible to all.
A feast of unexpected encounters
For the love of art is not a chronological or art-historical overview of masterpieces, but a feast of unexpected encounters. The exhibits have been selected with great care by guest curator Peter Hecht – emeritus professor of art history at the University of Utrecht and fellow of the Rembrandt Association – and designer Maarten Spruyt. The combinations are not only visually fascinating; they also offer food for thought. For example, a monumental sixteenth-century Biblical painting from Alkmaar hangs next to a huge photograph by Andreas Gursky from the Stedelijk Museum, and a prototype chair by Rietveld from the collection of the Centraal Museum in Utrecht is flanked by a painting by Alma-Tadema from Leeuwarden and a seventeenth-century floral still life from the Mauritshuis. The exhibition examines various aspects of collecting for the Dutch National Collection: how and why artworks are collected, which criteria are used, what changes have occurred over the years and how the Rembrandt Association has dealt with these changes.
Satellite programme throughout the Netherlands
As a supplement and reference to the exhibition in Otterlo, small museum displays are set up throughout the Netherlands. A total of 15 museums are collaborating in this programme, from Groningen to Middelburg and from Haarlem to Maastricht. In each presentation, a work acquired with the support of the Rembrandt Association in the past decade is shown in combination with other collection pieces to which it relates. This combination shows that the newly acquired work lifts the existing collection to a higher level, places a new emphasis or fills a gap.
Publication and side programme
For the love of art is accompanied by a publication about the importance of collecting for the public. The publication also discusses the most important works in the exhibition. In addition, there is an extensive side programme with, among other things, a series of lectures, a symposium and a Rembrandt Association route through the permanent collection of the Kröller-Müller Museum.
Rembrandt Association and Kröller-Müller Museum: a shared love of the public art collection
The message that the exhibition conveys would have appealed greatly to the founder of the Kröller-Müller Museum, Helene Kröller-Müller (1869-1939). She devoted her life to bringing together a spectacular collection of modern art – almost 11,500 works in total – and to the realization of ‘her’ museum, which she bequeathed to the community. Her collection is one of the largest and most important private collections of the twentieth century that has become public property. With this collection as a starting point, the Kröller-Müller has continued collecting for more than three quarters of a century and is still one of the foremost museums in the world.
The Rembrandt Association has been protecting and enhancing the Dutch public art collection since it was founded in 1883. As a ‘collective patron’, the Rembrandt Association helps to keep masterpieces in the Netherlands or to return important Dutch art to its place of origin, but it also follows later developments in art, up to the present day. It does this with great attention to the needs of major museums, such as the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam and the Kröller-Müller Museum, but it also supports the old municipal museums and, where possible, gives a qualitative stimulus to younger institutions, such as in recent years the Museum Belvédère in Heerenveen, Museum de Fundatie in Zwolle and the Zaans Museum. The Rembrandt Association has 15,000 members. Since its inception, the Association has contributed to the purchase of more than 2,200 works. In the past ten years, a total of 280 acquisitions have been made with the support of the Rembrandt Association. The Rembrandt Association has supported the Kröller-Müller Museum in a total of forty acquisitions over the past seventy years.