Van Straaten invests in the future. Both the Van de Velde wing and the Quist wing are being renovated. This is also the moment for him to review his policy. The public is central in this: ‘the museum has no reason to exist if there is no interaction with the visitors’. His acquisitions also attest to a social approach with which he seeks to add ‘extra colour’ to the atmosphere of the museum.
Renovation of the Van de Velde wing
It appears that the roof of the Van de Velde wing is highly flammable and needs to be replaced. The security, climate and lighting systems are also improved. The renovation is carried out under the direction of the Government Buildings Agency in collaboration with Quist-Wintermans Architects.
Because the wing is temporarily inaccessible, presentations are held in other locations in the museum, so that visitors can see as much of the collection as usual. The auditorium hosts Van Gogh and The director’s choice is displayed in the corridors. With his selection, Van Straaten ‘connects old and new works of art from our own collection […] in a poetic manner’.
Sept, a group of 7 limestone sculptures by Eugène Dodeigne, is given a place in the sculpture garden. The French artist donated this work in 2004, together with 90 terracotta models and 17 large charcoal drawings. The models and drawings are presented in the print room. In April, Dodeigne visits the museum with his family to view the exhibition and the installation of his sculpture group. He sees his sculpture Man and woman again for the first time since he donated it to the museum in 1964.
Placement of 'Sept' and visit of Eugène Dodeigne, 2005
In the summer, a large area in the sculpture garden is transformed into Atelier Van Lieshout’s Happy Forest. Both the expansive events’ terrain and the adjacent forest are adorned with colourful polyester sculptures that bear titles such as Workshop for weapons and bombs, Wombhouse, Skull and Septic tanks. With support from the BankGiro Lottery, Van Straaten acquires five sculptures and two installations by Atelier Van Lieshout.
Floating sculpture 'Otterlo' by Marta Pan requires conservation work. The sculpture has become unbalanced and can no longer make the 360 degree turn. The polyester skin of the work has also aged considerably. Pan offers her Two lenses, also a floating sculpture, on temporary loan so that the pond is not empty during the conservation. The contact with Marta Pan is also valuable for the scientific research department. Interviews with the artist provide a great deal of insight into the genesis of the sculpture garden in the 1960s.
Installation of 'Two lenses' under the supervision of Marta Pan, 2005
Bequest of Rudi van Deventer
From the legacy of Rudi van Deventer, the son of Sam van Deventer, the museum receives a substantial bequest of 28 works of art that his father collected during his lifetime. The works dovetail seamlessly with the collection.
Vincent van Gogh, Recumbent nude (early 1887), Auguste Herbin, Les roses (1926), Johan Barthold Jongkind, The Maas at Dordrecht (1870), Bart van der Leck, Dachsund (1915), Dirk Nijland, Zuiderzeedijk with wooden hut (1931)
Odilon Redon, The palm (c. 1905), Henry van de Velde, Lane of trees, Kalmhout (1890-1891), Carel Willink, The country house (1931), Paul Gauguin, Mille S. Manthey (1884), Georges Seurat, Femme au manchon (c. 1884)
Philosophizing with sculptures
The first teaching method for primary schools developed by the museum is presented in August. Philosophizing with sculptures gives pupils a playful introduction to the museum’s works of art. With thought-provoking questions and assignments, the pupils are challenged to collectively investigate what the artworks mean to them.
Look out / Attention
Look out / Attention by Krijn Giezen opens to the public on 27 August. The 87 metres-long staircase extends high above the Franse Berg, where the public can ‘look out’ across the wider area. To make room for the artwork, which took eleven weeks to construct, trees were felled on the Franse Berg for the first time in years. Giezen designed Look out / Attention as ‘an unconventional walk through the forest’ which begins at the sculpture Antlers by John Raedecker. During the festive opening, visitors are invited to ask the artist questions as part of the Meet the artist programme.
Opening 'Look out / Attention' Krijn Giezen, 27 August 2005
Echo of the Veluwe
The New Zealand artist Chris Booth works for two whole summers in the sculpture garden to create Echo of the Veluwe, a monumental sculpture of 325 stacked boulders from the immediate surroundings of the museum. The artist calls on local residents to contribute to this and carefully maps the locations where the stones were found. The public can follow the progress via the museum’s website. On 3 September, Echo of the Veluwe is inaugurated in the presence of Maori from New Zealand and Otterlo residents with a Karanga, a Maori welcome ritual.
Opening 'Echo van de Veluwe' Chris Booth with Maori ceremony, 2005
In the annual report, Van Straaten writes that he regards Look out / Attention and Echo of the Veluwe as ‘two iconic sculptures […] both of which relate to the history and landscape of the place in their own way’.
From the legacy of Ellen Joosten, the museum receives the drawing Otterlo Mastaba by Christo and Composition with blue lines by Constant. Piet and Ida Sanders donate a sculpture by Heringa/Van Kalsbeek. Van Straaten also purchases a sculpture from the artist duo, 5 works on paper, 8 conceptual sculptures by Stephen Kaltenbach and a sculpture by Cornelius Rogge.
Christo, Otterlo Mastaba (1973), Constant, Composition with blue lines (1951), Heringa/Van Kalsbeek, Untitled (1999), Heringa/Van Kalsbeek, Untitled (2005), Stephen Kaltenbach, Time capsule: OPEN AFTER WW III (1967-2001), Cornelius Rogge, Cicero (2000)
The chest of Sam van Deventer
In December, the Sam van Deventer Foundation donates a large chest to the museum filled with letters, photographs and other personal documents that relate to the Kröller-Müller family. This archive, which had been managed by the Foundation since the 1970s, was previously inaccessible to researchers. After the death of Sam’s son Rudi van Deventer, the Foundation decided to hand over the chest to the museum ‘permanently and without conditions’. This gives the museum access to a wealth of information on the founders of the museum.
New priority: education
‘The museum is catching up in the field of education’, writes Van Straaten. There is intensive cooperation with educational institutions in order to meet the needs of students as much as possible. The teaching method Philosophizing with sculptures that was launched the previous year has proved to be a great success. For that reason, the museum is working on the publication Philosophizing with paintings and Philosophizing with nature is developed in collaboration with the park.
Opening Aldo van Eyck pavilion
The pavilion that Aldo van Eyck designed in 1965, for the fifth Sonsbeek exhibition in 1966, is being reconstructed in the sculpture garden. This will provide permanent accommodation for 50 sculptures from the depot. The design sketches and a model of the pavilion are exhibited in the print room. ‘With the reconstruction of the pavilion, a cleared area in the forest becomes a meaningful place.’
The reconstruction was discussed with the architect before he died in 1999. He adapted the original design himself to guarantee the pavilion a longer life than just a few months. His widow Hannie van Eyck and Abel Blom from Buro Van Eyck worked on the practical implementation of the alterations, which mainly concern the roof. The pavilion is festively opened on 21 March, with Hannie van Eyck as guest of honour.
Opening Aldo van Eyck pavilion, 21 March 2006
New perspective on the permanent presentation
After a year and a half of renovation, the Van de Velde wing reopens on 15 April. Van Straaten has also revised the presentation. ‘In my search for connections between art and life, I found many convincing works in the collection that are empathetic to a wide range of social problems’, he writes. With this, he mainly refers to the Van Gogh collection, but he also recognizes this approach in Twilight by Josef Israëls, Transport of colonial soldiers by Isaac Israels, Stone cutters by Floris Verster, ‘Morning’ (after the strike) by Jan Toorop and The defence by Jean-Louis Forain. ‘By including these and other works in the permanent presentation, I wanted to add extra colour to the atmosphere of the museum.’
A number of rooms are repurposed as ‘project rooms’, in which constantly changing small presentations can be shown. In two new spaces, a brief history of the museum is presented on the basis of documents, objects and works from the collection.
The auditorium is converted into a multifunctional information centre where visitors can find information on the museum’s collection, history and current activities. With the ‘route maker’ they can put together their own guided tour or choose a thematic tour, which can be printed out on the spot. On other computers, visitors can play the game Collecting like Helene, which provides insight into the collection activities of the Kröllers. As such, the auditorium functions as the public centre of the Van de Velde wing, thus restoring the original function of the space.
In collaboration with the education department, a summer evening programme is organized in the sculpture garden for the first time. Four Saturday evenings full of music, poetry, theatre, dance pieces and performances are intended to lower the threshold for a museum visit. And they do! The ‘Sweet Summer Nights’ are well attended and ‘very well received by both the public and the press’.
The print room contains sculptures, reliefs, photographs and drawings that Piet and Ida Sanders have donated to the museum in the past forty years. The couple follow the developments in modern art closely and often encourage young and promising talent by purchasing their work. The Sanders collection in the museum, therefore, mainly consists of contemporary art, but also contains work by Cobra artists and objects from Africa, Oceania, Peru and Mexico. By now, more than 100 of these works have been donated to the Kröller-Müller Museum. Because they believe that ‘Art should be seen’. This year the couple donate Atomic cloud by Otto Piene and El norte de la montana by Juan Muñoz.
Otto Piene, Atom cloud, 1965 en Juan Muñoz, El norte de la montana, 1986 donated by Piet en Ida Sanders
Biographies of Anton & Helene
Over the coming four years, two PhD students from The Biography Institute of the University of Groningen will work on the biographies of Helene Kröller-Müller and Anton Kröller. Art historian Eva Rovers is Helene Kröller-Müller’s biographer and is given access to the contents of Sam van Deventer’s chest.
In October the museum launches a completely renewed website to better inform the public about current exhibitions and activities. The route maker is also made available on the website, so that visitors can even prepare their tours from home. The updated collection search feature contains information on works of art from the collection. Van Straaten writes the ‘Director’s column’ on the new site.
Living Art – On the Edge of Europe
Living Art; On the Edge of Europe focuses on the work of Eastern European artists from the 1960s and 70s. The exhibition seeks to give these artists the recognition that political circumstances did not allow them at the time.
Tom Claassen, Rocky Lumps (2005-2006), Kurt Schwitters, Untitled (Ereid) (1929), Bálint Szombathy, Portugal-England, 0-45 (2006), Christiaan Bastiaans, Spirit child (2002)
Under the leadership of the conservator of modern art, in the exhibition space work is underway on the conservation of three special installations: Clamp by Franz West, Glass (one and three) by Joseph Kosuth and The wider the flatter by Ger van Elk. In this way, visitors gain insight into the often complex museum issues regarding installation pieces.
Exhibition 'Inside installations', 2006
As in previous years, the government subsidy and ticket sales are the most important source of income. But the museum has an annual deficit of 450,000 euros. The board and management are forced to take measures: ten jobs have to go in the coming five years. According to Van Straaten, this will largely occur through natural staff turnover and functions can be combined and redistributed, so that layoffs can be avoided.
32 acquisitions and 57 donations
Despite the museum’s tight financial situation, Van Straaten can still acquire a number of important works, mainly thanks to donations and the support of sponsors.
Claes Oldenburg, London knees (1966), Christiaan Bastiaans, Expeditionary stabilization shelter II (2004), Ad Dekkers, Relief with cubes no. II (1966), Jan Dibbets, 13 faggots with neon branches (1967), On Kawara, Twin Paintings of MAY 30, 1997 (1997), Reiner Ruthenbeck, Schwarz / Weisse Doppelfahne (1985-1988), herman de vries, from earth (2007)
From the legacy of Baron and Baroness Mackay-Brückmann, the museum receives Blossoming little treeI by Bart van der Leck, Piet and Ida Sanders donate Step up by Anthony Caro, Mr & Mrs Vriens from Wassenaar donate Carpet VDL 6 by Bart van der Leck and Renilde Hammacher-Van den Brande donates Untitled by Magdalena Wiecek.
Bart van der Leck, Blossoming little tree I (1921), Anthony Caro, Step up (1995), Bart van der Leck, Carpet VDL 6 (design 1929, execution 1994), Magdalena Wiecek, Untitled (early 70s)
Renovation of the Quist wing
Much of the year is devoted to the renovation of the Quist wing. The wing will receive improved technical security and connection points for fire hoses are installed in various locations.
Meanwhile, over 1000 collection items have been made available online in the collection search feature and the route maker has been expanded with children’s tours. For this, Lydia Rood writes the explanations of the artworks. She incorporates these texts in the children’s book Het geheim van Helene (Helene’s secret), which introduces children to art and collecting. The result of these efforts is substantial: the new website has more than 500,000 visitors.
Van Eelen-Weeber collection
The museum acquires the conceptual art collection of Herman and Henriëtte Van Eelen-Weeber. This concerns an important group of small works from the 1960s and 70s, acquired from galleries such as Art & Project, Wide White Space and Konrad Fischer. The couple has intensive personal contact with the artists and is encouraged in their acquisitions by Jan Dibbets. In addition to the acquisition, Henriëtte van Eelen donates her collection documents, books and artist’s letters.
35 works are exhibited in the small rooms, by artists including Carl Andre, Joseph Beuys, Marcel Broodthaers, Stanley Brouwn, Donald Judd, Hanne Darboven, Jan Dibbets, Gilbert & George, On Kawara, Joseph Kosuth, Yves Klein, Richard Long, Sol LeWitt, Barnett Newman and Bruce Nauman. The presentation gives an impression of the almost homely character of the collection.
Exhibition 'Collectie Van Eelen-Weeber', 2007
Amphitheatre by Marta Pan
Marta Pan’s Amphitheatre opens with a festive dance performance in the presence of the artist. Van Straaten calls the sculpture ‘an ode to the beauty of geometry’. The realization of Amphitheatre was a long-cherished wish of Pan herself. ‘She would be delighted if one of her first important works would be joined by one of her last monumental works’, according to Van Straaten. Pan selected the spot in the sculpture garden and thereby the realization of Amphitheatre.
‘Due to the functional nature of the work, it enters into a relationship with the pavilions in the sculpture garden’, says Van Straaten
House of Dr Jung
Op 31 May the museum unveils the House of Dr Jung in the sculpture garden, a new work by the Dutch artist Pjotr Müller. This ‘house’ consists of three floors and is made entirely of scrap wood. Inside, 5 plaster sculptures by the artist can be seen, reflecting his interest in classical mythology. In May, visitors can become acquainted with Müller and ask questions about his work, as part of the Meet the artist programme.
Pjotr Müller, 'House of Dr Jung', 2007 en Plan for 'House of Dr Jung' (2nd proposal), 2006 donated by the artist
Sweet Summer Nights
The Sweet Summer Nights are once again a success this year. Almost 6000 people visited the multidisciplinary programme on the themes of dreams, taste, secrets and passion. Artist Rob Sweere enacts his Silent Sky Project, there are musical and theatre performances, poetry and literature are recited and visitors can join guided tours of the sculpture garden. These Sweet Summer Nights conclude with the band De Kift, which performs a wonderful combination of poetry, fanfare and punk.
A sculpture garden to wander
Sculpture garden – Kröller-Müller Museum charts the history of the garden for the first time, more than 45 years after its opening. The book begins with the purchase of the land by the Kröllers and ends with an interview with Van Straaten. In this, he reflects upon the garden and the possibility to wander around it in peace. The sculpture garden should be a ‘paradise’ in which to wander peacefully, where there is room for a sense of purpose ‘because everyday life leaves less and less room for it’. He hopes to achieve this ‘through respecting old and new, margins and centre, maintaining coherence in all elements and keeping an eye on new developments’.
Handing over the first copy of the 'Sculpture garden book' to Adriaan Geuze and Marta Pan, 23 June 2007
Based on the publication, the museum presents the exhibition Longing for the garden – sculptures from the depot. In this, the emphasis is on sculptures that were acquired specifically for the sculpture garden, but are no longer there, often because they cannot endure prolonged exposure to the elements. These works can once again be seen in the context of the sculpture garden.
Exhibition 'Longing for the garden – sculptures from the depot', 2007
Collection catalogue Van Gogh drawings
Four years after the publication of the painting catalogue, this year Drawings and prints by Vincent van Gogh in the collection of theKröller-Müller Museum is published. This new collection catalogue provides an overview of current knowledge regarding the drawings, with the results of recent art-historical research into their authenticity, dating, provenance and exhibition history. With this ‘the painting catalogue has gained a worthy counterpart and the period of intensive research into the works of Van Gogh in the collection is brought to a provisional close’.
Presentation of the painting catalogue Drawings and prints by Vincent van Gogh in the collection of theKröller-Müller Museum, 2007
Not much meat on the bones
The operation of the museum is still under pressure. This is due to an increase in overall expenditure, and the costs for marketing and education, which have only been included in the budget for a few years, also weigh heavily on the budget. Van Straaten sees no immediate reason for great concern, ‘because the policy is clearly formulated and the finances are in order’. But he does acknowledge that there is ‘very little meat on the bones’. In addition to the usual loan traffic, special loan projects in which the museum helps with the organization of the exhibition also generate income. This year, 272 works from the collection are loaned to 44 institutions worldwide.
Important acquisitions nonetheless
The profit from the museum shop goes entirely towards the acquisition budget. But without sponsors such as the BankGiro Lottery ‘we would be less able to realize our acquisition policy and special projects’, writes Van Straaten in the annual report. The Mondriaan Foundation and the Rembrandt Association also support the acquisition budget, which totals over a million euros. This enables Van Straaten to acquire a number of important additions to the collection this year: 2 gouaches from 1925 by Fernand Léger, an early sculpture from 1966 by Robert Smithson, a ten-part photographic series by Simon Starling, a photographic work by Thomas Struth, a hanging sculpture by Rob Sweere, 3 small sculptures by Joost van den Toorn and an impressive photographic work from 2007 by Jeff Wall.
Fernand Léger, Design for a wall painting (1925), Robert Smithson, The cryosphere (1966), Simon Starling, Trinidad tree house (3/10) (2002), Thomas Struth, Paradise 27 (Peru, 2005), Rob Sweere, The Hub (2008), Joost van den Toorn, Kidney café (2007), Jeff Wall, Cold storage (2007)
Van Straaten also acquires 2 drawings by Jan Toorop from his Zeeland period. ‘These drawings are characterized by the freedom they exude, but also by the incorporation of the influence of Vincent van Gogh’ and thus enter into a direct relationship with the Van Gogh collection and other neo-impressionists.
Jan Toorop, Bean cutter, 1905 en Gathering potatoes, 1907
The large sculpture room hosts an exhibition with work by Dutch artist Eylem Aladogan, including the new installation Before departure (all my changes were there). Van Straaten acquires the installation Abyss, army of me and 4 drawings from Aladogan.
Exhibition 'Eylem Aladogan', 2008
Van Eelen-Weeber Foundation
From the legacy of the collector Henriëtte van Eelen-Weeber, who died in January, the museum receives documents and works by Jan Dibbets and Richard Long, among others. It is also announced that she has set up a foundation in which she placed the purchase amount of the Van Eelen-Weeber collection previously acquired by the museum. The ‘Van Eelen-Weeber Foundation’ will function as a support foundation for the museum. For Van Straaten, the news comes as a ‘big surprise’.
The exhibition Redone, conceptual art from the collection is the result of a project of the museum with art history students from the VU University Amsterdam. The central question in the project was how conceptual works of art can be presented again, forty years after their creation. This led to the decision to execute Sol LeWitt’s Wall drawing at Visser residence no. 117 on one of the exhibition space walls, the first time at a location other than the Vissers’ villa in Bergeijk. At the museum’s invitation, two of Sol LeWitt’s assistants are involved in the realization of the work, which ultimately takes eight days.
On the occasion of Carel Visser’s 80th birthday, the museum creates a presentation around the reconstruction of the Cube project from 1969-1971. The space-filling work of art combines sculptures by the artist with an interactive audio installation on which a composition by Ton Bruynèl can be heard. After extensive research into the materials used, Visser’s sheet-steel cubes are rebuilt by metal conservators. The audio installation, which worked with tape recorders in the original design, is transferred to HD (High Definition). On 5 July the Cube project ‘comes to life again’.
Reconstruction of Carel Visser's Cube project (1969-1971), 2008
Ana Maria Tavares
On the occasion of Sonsbeek 2008: Grandeur, the museum presents the most recent work by one of its participants, Ana Maria Tavares. The power of water is an important source of inspiration for the Brazilian artist. Van Straaten acquires Crystal Waters, The Wish-ribbon net, a ‘waterfall’ of wish ribbons, and Secrets of the waters (for Mnemosyne), which for Sonsbeek is installed in the sculpture garden on top of the intersection of five underground streams.
Ana Maria Tavares; Crystal waters, The Wish-ribbon net, Secrets of the waters (for Mnemosyne), 2008
On the opinion of the Restitution Committee, Young woman at the well by Jean-Baptiste Corot is returned by the Minister of Education, Culture and Science to the heirs of the Jewish owner Georg Eduard Behrens, who had to give up his possessions to the Nazis in the 1930s. The painting was purchased in Berlin in 1942 using funds from the 600,000-guilder fund. In addition, 157 pages of graphic art by Richard Holst are transferred to the permanent stewardship of the Netherlands Institute for Cultural Heritage and 5 African works to the Africa Museum in Berg en Dal.
Jean-Baptiste Corot, Young woman at a well, 1865-1870 (Former collection Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller)
Marta Pan passes away on 12 October. The museum posthumously receives 5 drawings, a final gift from her. The wooden model of Amphitheatre is purchased by the museum. Van Straaten recalls the artist, who has been associated with the museum for over forty years: ‘She always had a warm place in her heart for the museum and she deserves our everlasting appreciation’. Renilde and Arno Hammacher donate 4 of Pan’s sculptures to the museum.
Marta Pan; Untitled (1996), Maquette Amphithéâtre (2008), Calotte 240, 1984, Charnière 1 (1952), Cylindre D (1974), Sculpture 408 (Clarté) (1997)
The German artist Andreas Rimkus is committed to preserving the craft of metal forging for the future and has begun a global project. On every continent he places a monumental hammerhead, with a ginkgo tree growing inside it, which will take at least 25 years to become the ‘handle’ of the hammer. Van Straaten purchases the third hammer in this project. EuropaHammer is placed opposite the museum, not far from the Steyn bench. The enormously heavy work, weighing more than 25 tonnes, is unveiled on 1 November; the ginkgo tree is planted as part of the opening ceremony.
Opening ceremony 'EuropaHammer' by Andreas Rimkus, 1 November 2008