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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | A day at the Museum
poraries all the way through to present day artworks. “It will feature traditional themes of the late 19th century such as still lives, landscapes, city scenes and portraits. In total, 50 works of Van Gogh – both paintings and many extraordinary drawings – will be combined with works by his friends and fellow artists from our collection,” explains Pelsers. “This really shows how Van Gogh was influenced as well as the relationship of his work to that of others artists.” A highlight of the year for the KröllerMüller Museum, Pelsers hopes this exhibition will also bring some more attention to their impressive Van Gogh collection. “It is the biggest collection after the Van Gogh Museum anywhere in the world. We already get many people from abroad visiting us specifically for our Van Goghs, but it would be fantastic if even more people know about it and will enjoy all his masterpieces we have,” she says.
A visionary collection The museum was founded by art collector Helene Kröller-Müller. Supported by her husband, Anton Kröller, a director of a successful company, she set out to get the best works of modern art together, at the start of the 20th century. “There was almost no limit to her funding. She had a clear vision of what she wanted to do with their money,” Pelsers explains.
OPPOSITE LEFT: Le bateau-atelier, Monet’s studio-boat by Claude Monet, 1874. OPPOSITE MIDDLE: Self portrait by Vincent van Gogh, 1887. ABOVE: The Rietveld Pavilion by architect Gerrit Rietveld, 1964-1965 (renovated in 2010). Photo: Marjon Gemmeke. BOTTOM: Jardin d’émail by Jean Dubuffet, 1974, in the sculpture garden.
cluded many international names who only really became famous decades later.” Unfortunately, her husband’s company wasn’t immune to the economic crisis in the 1930s. To keep her meticulously collected art collection intact, Kröller-Müller decided to give it to the Dutch state, under the condition that a suitable museum would be built. This became the birth of the Kröller-Müller Museum, which opened three years later to the public in 1938.
Where art and nature collide Kröller-Müller amassed nearly 12,000 artworks throughout her life span, particularly paintings by modern expressionists. Her personal favourite: Vincent van Gogh. She bought around 80 of his paintings. Pelsers adds: “At the time, she was very forward thinking in her collection that in-
That the museum is in the middle of the Veluwe is not by accident. “It was mainly so that the art could be appreciated in peace and silence, away from the hectic city. Helene believed this was the best way to experience the art. Our location really adds to the experience of our visitors,” Pelsers says.
Parts of the magnificent landscape of woodland, heath, small lakes and sand drifts are incorporated as an outdoor display for the museum: a 25 hectare sculpture garden that counts around 150 works of art. “We keep the collection current by adding new works, but always with Helene’s vision in mind: it has to be something conceptual and contemplative, a result of an intellectual process,” Pelsers explains. This means on the one hand the collection has many well-known icons, but also minimalistic or ‘difficult’ art. Pelsers concludes: “Not all our art is necessarily accessible, we want some works to challenge people, surprise them and show a different view.” krollermuller.nl
The exhibition Van Gogh & Co: Criss-crossing the collection will be on display from 25 April to 27 September. The Kröller-Müller Museum is open daily apart from Mondays. For those wanting to explore the Veluwe, the museum offers free-to-use bicycles around the museum grounds. Photo: Jean Dubuffet
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Promoting Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg and France.