AMSTERDAM.-125 masterpieces from more than 30 Dutch museums can be seen together, this once only, at the Van Gogh Museum. The exhibition, titled 125 favourites. Acquired with the support of the Rembrandt Association, has been organised to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Rembrandt Association. The exhibition reveals the high quality and diversity of the acquisitions that have been supported by the Association. These include major works of visual arts, decorative arts, applied arts and video art. 125 favourites can be seen from 3 October 2008 to 18 January 2009.
The Rembrandt Association was founded in 1883 by a group of individuals in order to ensure that significant works of Dutch art could remain in the country. At the time, there was little governmental support for retaining important works of art, while the museums did not have the financial reserves to make their own purchases. As a result, many works from private collections were sold abroad. The arrival of the Rembrandt Association helped to turn the tide. They brought works by artists such as Rembrandt van Rijn, Jan Davidsz. de Heem and Hendrick TerBrugghen back to the Netherlands.
At the beginning of the 20th Century, the Association expanded its efforts to include support for the purchase of foreign works of art. This led to the purchase of major works by, for example, Francisco Goya en Mattia Preti. Since the 1950s the purchase of modern and contemporary art has also been supported, including works by Piet Mondriaan, Marc Chagall and Pablo Picasso.
The Rembrandt Association has supported the purchase of more than 2500 works for public ownership during the last 125 years. This unique, celebratory exhibition traces the purchasing policies of the Rembrandt Association by means of 125 remarkable works of art. The works on show include Love letter by Johannes Vermeer (Rijksmuseum), Soo voer gesongen, soo na gepepen (As the birds sing, so do the chicks cheep back) by Jan Steen (Mauritshuis), Lattenleunstoel met zijstukken (Reclining slatted chair with arms) by Gerrit Rietveld (Centraal Museum), silverwork by the van Vianen brothers (Rijksmuseum), the video Washing hands by Bruce Nauman (Stedelijk Museum), Relief with yellow rectangle 2 by Kurt Schwitters (Kröller-Müller Museum), Euphiletos, black-figured Greek Panathenaic prize amphora (Allard Pierson Museum) and Edouard Manet's The jetty of Boulogne-sur-Mer (Van Gogh Museum). The concept of 125 favourites has been developed by guest curator Peter Hecht. The exhibition design is by Wim Crouwel.
Publication - 125 jaar openbaar kunstbezit / met steun van de Vereniging Rembrandt, by Peter Hecht. Waanders Uitgevers, 256 pages, 250 illustrations, in Dutch only. Price: 29.95 (paperback); 39.95 (hardcover). Available in the museum shop, via www.vangoghmuseumshop.com and at bookshops.
Multimedia Tour - There is a multimedia tour that offers in-depth information about more than 15 of the major pieces. Unique stories about the works that have been bought are revealed in sight and sound. Available in English and Dutch. Price: 4 (free to members of the Rembrandt Association).