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The Magrittes return to Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen after a world tour
‘The Red Model III’ (1937) by René Magritte is rehung in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. On the right: ‘On the Threshold of Liberty’ (1930) and ‘Youth Illustrated’ illustrée’ (1937). Photo: Kees Spruijt.

ROTTERDAM.- The new year has got off to a good start in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen with the return of three travelling masterpieces from the collection. Last year almost one million Americans enjoyed the Rotterdam Magrittes in New York, Houston and Chicago. The works by René Magritte (1898-1967) can be seen in an updated hanging of the outstanding Surrealism collection.

After a journey of more than a year the museum is celebrating the homecoming of three works of art with a rehang of the Surrealist rooms. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen took the unusual step of lending the paintings to the major Magritte exhibition in MoMA, the Menil Collection and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Travelling Icons
In 2014 more than four hundred works of art from Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s collection travelled to exhibitions in the Netherlands and abroad, where more than seven million people enjoyed them. Thanks to these international loans the museum succeeded in bringing important works of art to Rotterdam—as it did last year with iconic works by Brancusi. ‘The travelling masterpieces are a visiting card for Rotterdam and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen worldwide,’ said Director Sjarel Ex.

Edward James’s Ballroom
The British art patron Edward James was the link between the Magrittes. In 1937 he invited the artist to make a number of paintings for the ballroom of his London home. Magritte stayed in James’s house for five weeks and painted ‘The Red Model III’ (‘Le modèle rouge III’), ‘Youth Illustrated’ (‘La jeunesse illustrée’) and ‘On the Threshold of Liberty’ (‘Au seuil de la liberté’). The paintings hung in in James’s ballroom, probably in alcoves behind reflective glass, and could only be seen when the lights were on. In the museum the paintings can be seen together with ‘Not to be Reproduced ‘ (‘La reproduction interdite’). This famous masterpiece shows Edward James looking into a mirror in his ballroom. Disconcertingly, we see reflected not his face, but the back of his head.

An Iconic Collection
It is to the credit of the former curator Renilde Hammacher, who recently died at the age of 101, that Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen has such an exceptional and extensive collection of Surrealist art. In the 1960s and 70s she bought iconic works like the bronze ‘Venus de Milo with Drawers’ (‘Vénus de Milo aux trois tiroirs’) (1936/1964) by Salvador Dalí. Hammacher also put together the legendary Dalí exhibition in 1970, which was opened by the Surrealist artist himself. After she was appointed curator Surrealism became an important area of collection in the museum with works of an international standard.

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