archive

Purchased in 2011

Birdie

2011

Joost van den Toorn (1954)

bronze

The work of Joost van den Toorn plays an important role in the collection. He became well-known in the nineteen eighties with sculptures composed of various materials and found objects, which were often boldly coloured and with provocative references to sensitive or uncomfortable social topics around eroticism, religion or politics. In later years his preference shifted to bronze and other metals, stone and ceramics for the execution of his depictions. His sculptures are characterized by a certain absurdism and attest to a fertile imagination. They are uncomfortable because of the candid approach to themes such as cruelty, death, religious feelings, animals, malicious pleasure and the glorification of personality. But they are endearing and understandable due to the atmosphere of wistfulness and melancholy that the works often also express. And there is unmistakable humour, sometimes vile, sometimes disarming. From the very start of his career Van den Toorn has taken inspiration from a wide range of artistic expressions, from those of global folk cultures (from the North American Inuit to the Batak of Sumatra), via the art of the mentally ill, to the less well-known representatives of Western modern art from the beginning of the 20th century, such as Henri Gaudier-Brzeska and Alexander Archipenko. Accordingly his role in the collection is also multifaceted, as his work dovetails with that of the artists just mentioned, as well as with the work by Jacques Lipchitz, Inuit artists or non-Western cultures in the collection.

Birdie - Joost van den Toorn (1954)
Purchased in 2010

Ultimate Painting No.39

1960

Ad Reinhardt (1913-1967)

oil on canvas

The museum acquired Ultimate Painting No. 39 from 1960 by Ad Reinhardt (1913-1967) with the support of the BankGiro Lottery (through the  Kröller-Müller Fund), the Mondriaan Foundation, and the Rembrandt Association and its Titus Fund. The museum had wished to acquire a work by the artist for many years. Ad Reinhardt was an American artist in the abstract-geometric tradition, a little younger than Barnett Newman and Mark Rothko. His artistic development was devoted to a quest for the essence of art. He was seen as an important pioneer for the Minimalist and Conceptual artists in subsequent decades. For the museum the acquisition of a black painting by Reinhardt is significant because of the relationship with the work of Piet Mondrian, which is prominently represented in the museum and which Reinhardt greatly admired. It is also of importance in the broader context of work by artists whose starting point is colour and space. Black symbolises the compression of everything into nothing – the ultimate form of emptiness – and infinite space. The work is equally important in relation to the museum’s collection of Conceptual and Post-Conceptual art: art that is preoccupied with the role and significance of art, which is a cornerstone of the museum’s collection. That part of our audience which admires the museum as a space for reflection and meditation (and that is a large group!) will cherish this acquisition.

Ultimate Painting No.39 - Ad Reinhardt (1913-1967)
From estate 2010

Blue-yellow-green (reconstruction of the colour green)

1970

R.W. van de Wint (1942-2006)

watercolour on paper

The museum has acquired a group of thirty-six watercolours and gouaches from the 1970s from the estate of R.W. van de Wint (1942-2006). They were received by the Dutch State in lieu of inheritance tax and the Ministry of Finance has entrusted them to the care of the museum. Van de Wint’s work is well represented in the collection, including two monumental works in the sculpture garden installed following a major exhibition of his work at the museum in 2002. Van de Wint was active from the 1960s as a painter and performance artist. In later years he developed an increasingly layered oeuvre in which the supports for his paintings took on a more spatial, sculptural and architectural form. From the beginning of the 1980s until his death he devoted himself to the creation of his own sculpture park, De Nollen in Den Helder. In the 1990s the museum acquired a large group of works that charted the transition from his painterly to his three-dimensional work. The recently acquired group of works reflect Van de Wint’s personal research into the effects of colour in the 1970s. 

Blue-yellow-green (reconstruction of the colour green) - R.W. van de Wint (1942-2006)
Legacy 2010

Prometheus

July 1926

Oswald Wenckebach (1895 - 1962)

bronze on stone plinth

In 2009 the family of Oswald Wenckebach (1895-1962) presented the museum with an important late sculpture by the artist, The Defeated Conqueror from 1957. Since then it has had a permanent place in the Aldo van Eyck sculpture pavilion. Wenckebach is best known for his sculpture Mister Jacques, a copy of which stands at the entrance to the museum. In 2010 we were delighted with the bequest of four early sculptures by the artist from the estate of Ms J.M. Welcker. The sculptures came from the collection of Dr A. Welcker. They represent a great enrichment of our collection of sculpture from the interwar years. Prometheus from 1926 is a particularly important work and will be included in a major retrospective of Wenckebach’s work at Museum Beelden aan Zee in Scheveningen in 2011.

Prometheus - Oswald Wenckebach (1895 - 1962)
Purchased in 2010

Duck-billed platypus

2008

Joost van den Toorn (1954)

bronze

Joost van den Toorn (1954) studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam from 1976 to 1980. He became known in the 1980s for his sculptures made from a diverse range of materials and found objects, often brutal in colour and with provocative references to sensitive social issues related to eroticism, religion or politics. In later years he has favoured bronze and other metals and stone and ceramics. His sculptures are characterised by a certain absurdism and are evidence of a lively imagination. They often deal with uncomfortable subjects such as cruelty, death, religious beliefs, animals, perverse pleasure and the cult of personality. They are moving through their sensitive expression of melancholy. And they are unmistakably humorous, sometimes wry, sometimes disarming.

From the very beginning of his career, Van den Toorn has been inspired by a broad range of artefacts, from Inuit and Batak folk art, via Outsider Art to lesser-known modernist artists of the early twentieth century such as Henri Gaudier-Brzeska. He is more interested by marginal phenomena than that which is in the spotlight. The Kröller-Müller Museum has followed Van den Toorn since 1991 and has assembled an impressive collection of twenty-four sculptures and two drawings. In 2010 the museum purchased two recent works and the artist donated three early sculptures to balance the representation of his works in the collection.

Duck-billed platypus - Joost van den Toorn (1954)
Gift in 2010

Calvaire

2005

Peter Otto (1955)

glazed earthenware, blanket

The museum has collected the work of Peter Otto (1955) since 1997 and already has fifteen watercolours, four sculptures and a special printed publication. His work stems from violent emotions and empathy with those in suffering. He does not shy away from depicting gruesome scenes, but these are aestheticised for reflection and meditation. The watercolour acquired in 2010 is representative of his works on paper. The museum has received the sculpture Calvaire as a gift from the European Ceramic Workcentre, where the artist undertook a residency. This work is also characteristic for Otto: a still life with an unusual combination of objects and body parts, apparently mutilated or decaying.

Calvaire - Peter Otto (1955)
On loan 2010

Dog on a Chair

date unknown

Adolphe-Joseph Monticelli (1824 - 1886)

oil on canvas

In 2010 the portrait of a grey griffon by Adolphe Monticelli (1824-1886), a remarkable presence in our museum, was joined by another portrait of a dog. Research is required to determine whether the works are pendants, although this seems likely: one faces left, the other right; both have the same format and are framed in a similar manner. The work is on loan from a granddaughter of Helene Kröller-Müller, Mrs H. Everwijn-Brückmann, whose mother purchased it from H.P. Bremmer. The intention is that the loan will eventually become a gift. Monticelli, already represented in our collection by seven other works, was greatly admired by Vincent van Gogh. His almost sculptural use of paint, his experiments with adding other substances to the paint and using varnish as a means of expression, his intense use of colour (from his study of Delacroix) and his exuberant imagination still inspire surprise and admiration today. The stories about his mysterious personality (including his conviction that he was in direct connection with God) have contributed greatly to this. This takes nothing away from his significance in the development of modern painting. We are extremely pleased with this addition to our ‘old’ collection.

Dog on a Chair - Adolphe-Joseph Monticelli (1824 - 1886)
Purchased in 2010

Large injured figure

1894

George Minne (1866 - 1941)

bronze

The museum received four sculptures by Oswald Wenckebach (q.v.), from the estate of Ms J.M. Welcker, which had originally belonged to Dr A. Welcker. The estate also included a sculpture by George Minne (1866-1941), acquired at auction at the Venduehuis in The Hague. It is a large cast of Le grand blessé from 1894. The museum already owned a series of works by Minne, including copies of Man with a Water-bag from 1897, Le petit blessé II and Kneeling Boy, both from 1898. In our museum his work is presented in the context of numerous Symbolist works from the turn of the century. Minne sought to create an introverted, pure and sensitive art. His sculptures from the 1890s and his central work The Fountain of Kneeling Youths, which shows elongated young men in defensive postures, are among his most successful works, giving form to empathy in a highly sensitive manner.

Large injured figure - George Minne (1866 - 1941)
Purchased in 2010

Two Heugemer ponies

2008

Tom Claassen (1964)

concrete

In 2010 the museum acquired two concrete ponies by the sculptor Tom Claassen (1964) to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Hoge Veluwe. They stand ‘parked’ by the entrance to the sculpture garden as if their riders have just dismounted for a visit to the Kröller-Müller Museum. Claassen, who is represented in the sculpture garden by two other monumental works, 18 Wooden Men, Lying Down from 2000 and Rocky Lumps from 2005-2006, is known for his human and animal figures that appear to be in such a state of erosion that they seem to emerge from or merge with the landscape. Through the techniques he uses and his repertoire of firms, there is frequently a not unintentional association with cuddly toys, but Claassen’s versions are rather more threatening. They find their ideal habitat in the context of the sculpture garden and the landscape of the Hoge Veluwe.

Two Heugemer ponies - Tom Claassen (1964)
Purchased in 2010

"The Paintings" (with Us in the Nature)

1971

Gilbert & George (1943, 1942)

oil on canvas

The most exceptional purchase in 2010 was undoubtedly the large work by Gilbert & George (1943 and 1942), The Paintings (with Us in the Nature) from 1971. This acquisition was made possible with the support of the BankGiro Lottery (through the Kröller-Müller Fund), the National Acquisition Fund of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Mondriaan Foundation, the Rembrandt Association and its Titus Fund, the SNS REAAL Fund and the VSB Foundation. The Paintings, which comprises six triptychs, is the perplexing and challenging artistic synthesis of the feelings of two young artists about their artistic mission following a summer in the blissful landscape of the east of England. It is their first large, important work. The acquisition strengthens the collection of Conceptual art, provides a focal point for the collection of (early) works by Gilbert & George. The museum, with its intimate relationship with the landscape, provides the ideal context for this unique paradisiacal vision of nature. In 2010 the museum organised an exhibition around the acquisition with extensive interpretative material. In 2010 the museum also acquired various documents relating to The Paintings and the artists. A particularly special acquisition is the ‘sculpture novel’ Side by Side, from 1970, in which the photographs, some of which served as the basis for The Paintings, are accompanied by poetic texts written by the artists
Purchased in 2010

at this moment stanley brouwn is at a distance of x foot

2009

Stanley Brouwn (1935)

plywood, wood, synthetic polymer paint, aluminium, metal parts, two cards with printed text

Brouwn’s work concerns the fascinating phenomenon of movement in space and time. Since the early 1960s Brouwn has given form in a variety of ways to his fascination with this phenomenon, initially by involving other people he encountered by chance and later by designating his own fictional character as the middle point. In the 1960s he asked passers-by for directions to a particular location and asked them to draw a map. He stamped the drawing with the text ‘This Way Brouwn’ and exhibited it in a vitrine as a ‘sculpture’ that should evoke the dimensions of time and space. In the recently acquired work, the ‘sculpture’ is formed in the mind. A plank is supported by trestles against a wall. On the plank is an aluminium strip measuring a foot. On the wall is the following text: ‘at this moment stanley brouwn is at a distance of x foot’.

at this moment stanley brouwn is at a distance of x foot - Stanley Brouwn (1935)
Purchased in 2010

Inopportune: Stage two

2004

Cai Guo-Qiang (1957)

Nine life-sized tiger replicas, arrows, and mountain stage prop. Tigers: papier-mâché, plaster, fiberglass, resin, and painted hide; arrows: brass, threaded bamboo shaft, and feathers; and stage prop: Styrofoam, wood, canvas, and acrylic paint

In 1986 Cai (1957) moved from his native China to Japan and since 1995 he has lived and worked in New York. Cai’s work centres on an old theme: freeing energy and creating new possibilities through destruction. Through his use of elements from Chinese history and culture and by using gunpowder as his main visual means he has built up a highly personal oeuvre. In the winter of 1994-1995 Cai took part in the high-profile exhibition Heart of Darkness at the Kröller-Müller Museum. His participation included a spectacular performance using gunpowder. At that time the museum purchased the monumental drawing Myth: Shooting the Suns: Project for Extraterrestrials No. 21. Since then Cai has shot to international fame and it seemed that his work had surpassed the museum’s budget. Thanks to the generosity of the artist and the BankGiro Lottery, in 2010 it was possible to acquire Cai’s monumental installation Inopportune: Stage Two from 2004. It consists of nine life-size replicas of tigers shot with arrows and a decorative element in the form of a mountain and a tree. The tigers hover in the space, as in the throes of death. The work is rather grave compared to Cai’s generally light-hearted oeuvre. While it contains the beautiful, theatrical elements that Cai likes to work with, its subject matter is difficult, perhaps even indecent.  This work is Cai’s reaction to terrorism, the violence of war and extermination and mankind’s uncomfortable relation to these phenomena. Heroism has its shady side in which the fight between good and evil rages. The work will be exhibited in the museum for the first time at the beginning of 2012.

Inopportune: Stage two - Cai Guo-Qiang (1957)
Purchased in 2009

CLUB MAMA GEMÜTLICH

2009

Christiaan Bastiaans (1951)

installation with 35 mm film transfered to HD, colour, sound

The Kröller-Müller Museum began acquiring work by Christiaan Bastiaans in 1994. The museum focuses on the interaction between the margin and the centre, and particularly appreciates those utopians and artists who connect aesthetic ideas with social issues in an unconventional way. The representation of displacement, upheaval and exclusion is one of the most difficult tasks that an artist can undertake, and few are capable of imbuing it with a satisfying, artistic and intellectually challenging form. Christiaan Bastiaans has made extraordinary efforts to that end, which is wonderfully expressed in the acquired film. The film is screened in an army tent/field cinema, which is part of the total work of art. It was shot at the fictional ‘Club Mama Gemütlich’, which is part field hospital, part mission post and part nightclub stage. This represents an improvised shelter for a group of wounded soldiers in the no-man’s land of a conflict zone. The film’s leading lady, La Vivre, played by the French Jeanne Moreau, ensures that it remains a place of hope, consolation and warmth. The film consists of 7 scenes that are based on found war photos and found photographs of a field hospital. Each scene opens with a tableau vivant that recreates the image of the photo in question. The scenes develop according to the off-camera, spoken text of La Vivre and two other characters, Cyto Kine and Molecular Scarlet, who do not appear as actors in the film but as voiceovers spoken by Rutger Hauer and Yoshi Oida.

Bastiaans’ study and love of Noh theatre are reflected in many aspects of the scenario’s development. He was thinking of Yûgen when he developed the role of the consoling La Vivre: invisible beauty, profound sublimity and mysterious elegance. La Vivre is the film’s axis; the role was created for actress Jeanne Moreau. In an environment of despair, pain and alienation, it is she who creates the feeling that hope, consolation and warmth are within everyone’s reach. She is the mystical apparition; she applies the ointment and heals. Her performance is based on very slow, small and precise gestures and movements. She uses the sign language of the deaf, and her voice can only be heard as a voiceover. As in Noh, all movements are meaningful: they plead, connect and cure. The sound of voices works as an invocation: voices that express elegance and pathos, and create an atmosphere of meditation and stillness that, as in Noh theatre, transcends time and space. Bastiaans collected material and wrote the film’s texts while travelling through conflict zones in Africa.

CLUB MAMA GEMÜTLICH - Christiaan Bastiaans (1951)
Purchased in 2009

Head of a woman

c. 1909-1920

Constantin Brancusi (1876 - 1957)

pencil on paper

This acquisition depicts the stylised head of a woman, drawn in pencil on coarse paper. Nelly van Doesburg, the third wife of De Stijl founder Theo van Doesburg, was already in possession of the drawing prior to 1930, but it probably predates this considerably. The drawing is a significant addition to a group of works by Brancusi, accumulated since 1995, around one of his most important themes: the reclining or sleeping head. In this group, Le Commencement du Monde from 1924 is the point of arrival and the endearing head of a sleeping child from 1908, the starting point. The head at rest can be seen as the source of all creativity. The museum has previously acquired another drawing/collage and four self-made photographs by this artist.

Head of a woman - Constantin Brancusi (1876 - 1957)
Purchased in 2009

La Pièce

1971

Ger van Elk (1941)

piece of painted beech wood on velvet pillow

La Pièce is a momentous work in the history of Dutch art. It was made for the international exhibition ‘Sonsbeek buiten de perken’, which took place in Arnhem and the rest of the country in 1971. The exhibition introduced the Netherlands to the latest and most radical views in visual art (such as conceptual art, Land Art and minimal art) and by now ranks among the pioneering exhibitions of the previous century. This work by the then 30-year-old Ger van Elk has developed into one of the most celebrated works in conceptual art and has been exhibited on many occasions since. Van Elk made the work in response to the large-scale, and in his opinion megalomaniacal works that minimal and Land Art gave rise to. He wanted to make a work that spanned half the globe by travelling to the cleanest, most dust-free spot on the ocean in order to paint a small wooden block. In January 1971 he boarded a cargo ship heading for Greenland and eventually painted the block in question to the west of Iceland. Van Elk in 1971: “It is my intention to make a work of absolute beauty in a double sense viz. the beauty of a simple block of wood painted in an exquisite white, and the beauty in a technical sense: viz. painted in the part of the world where no speck of dust can cause any impurity: on the ocean. In this case between Ireland and Newfoundland (Canada). This idea is already very old and has a Chinese-Japanese tradition. These old ‘lacquer masters’ also went to sea in boats for the fine lacquer work for the Imperial Courts” (HP, 29-6-1971). During the exhibition the wooden block, by then entitled La Pièce (the masterpiece), was displayed in the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam on a burgundy cushion in a glass cabinet, accompanied by a nautical chart showing where it was painted, a short explanatory text and two photographs of the act of painting itself. Van Elk also had a short film made of the painting on the high seas, which was screened in the film programme of Sonsbeek in Arnhem and has also been shown on television. Van Elk chose the Tropenmuseum to corroborate the image of the vast distance involved in making the sculpture and because the Tropenmuseum was a place where one could experience a strange and exotic world.

In one respect the work embodied a forceful and critical statement on the extent to which the dematerialization of art could be taken (a topic, if not the topic in those years), while simultaneously it opened up new and unprecedented possibilities for the application of time, space and process in visual art. Referring to this, in 1973 he said: “There are works in which I [have commented on art], the most forceful example of this is the wooden block for Sonsbeek (…) I wanted to make a work of art that is monumental in its idea, but entirely the opposite in its execution, by painting a totally minimal block of wood white, in the cleanest possible manner. That also has all kinds of ramifications. It refers to minimal art and geometric abstraction and to decadence, to the luxury of this type of exhibition [like Sonsbeek]. That is also why it had to be painted at sea, very expensive, very clean, flawless, no dust, all to be able to produce this for the Artistic Court” (cat. Eindhoven 1973). The work was also uncomfortable, because the unmistakable irony with which Van Elk seasons his art was, and still is exceptional. But despite, or indeed perhaps because of this, Van Elk’s work (and not only La Pièce) has acquired the significance of a highly relevant philosophical statement.

The work is significant to the Kröller-Müller Museum, as the museum has built up a centre of gravity around the crucial developments in visual art during the 1960s and ’70s; around minimal art, Land Art, Arte Povera and conceptual art, which have since emerged as the last of the avant-garde movements. The postmodernism that followed, which regarded the traditional and the modern as equals, did indeed make short work of the notion of avant-garde, but it has also served to place great emphasis on the historical significance of conceptual art in particular. To such a degree that interest from young artists and young visitors in recent years has grown tremendously. The term ‘sculpture’ is another pivotal aspect in the museum’s collection, and specifically the critical relationship to nature. Polarising works of art with character that dovetail with these themes belong in the Kröller-Müller Museum.

La Pièce - Ger van Elk (1941)
Purchased in 2007

1984 and beyond

2005 - 2007

Gerard Byrne (1969)

3 single channel HDV video installation with a series of 20 framed silver gelatin photographs and a quotation from 'Jonathan Edwards' by Perry Miller in vinyl letters on a black painted wall

The installation 1984 and beyond , 2005-2007 by Gerard Byrne (1969, Dublin) consists of three video films, twenty black and white photographs and a text fragment on the wall. The films show the staging of a discussion between twelve science-fiction writers about how the world might look after 1984. What is remarkable about the work is that the discussion was held in 1963, and published in the July and August issues of Playboy magazine that year. Byrne turned the discussion into a performance in 2005, and had the writers played by Dutch actors. He used two typical examples of modern, post-war architecture as the sets for the shootings: the pavilion by Gerrit Rietveld (1955/1965) in the Kröller-Müller Museum sculpture garden, and the provincial government building by Hugh Maaskant (1971) in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. The text fragment is from a book by Perry Miller, written in 1949 about Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), a celebrated North American theologian. Although the photographs were taken by Byrne himself, they show timeless images of unspecified places, as if the changes the writers are talking about do not take place. The crux of the work lies in the complex interweaving of present, past and future, and the meaning of speculation on the utopian content of the future.
1984 and beyond is purchased in 2007 with support from the BankGiro Lottery, through the Stichting Kröller-Müller Fund.

1984 and beyond - Gerard Byrne (1969)
Purchased on June 5, 2008

Seated woman

1916

Georges Vantongerloo (1886 - 1965)

oil on canvas

This small but exceptional painting by the Belgian artist Georges Vantongerloo (1886-1965) was purchased for a sum of €17,800 at Christie’s Amsterdam auction house. It depicts a seated woman in an interior on a canvas measuring 33.5 x 44 cm, still in its original grey painted frame. The painting is in a rough pointillist style, with broad, rhythmically applied strokes of paint in white, black, red, yellow, and green on a blue background. Although flamboyantly signed by the artist and dated 1916, it was probably executed in 1917, when Vantongerloo was a refugee in The Hague. By then he had already made a name for himself in Belgium as a realist sculptor, who finished off his works with an impressionistic touch showing the influence of his somewhat older countryman, the sculptor and painter Rik Wouters (1882-1916). Vantongerloo’s solo exhibition in October 1917 at the Kunstkring Hollando-Belge [Dutch-Belgian Art Circle] in The Hague was the first time that he also presented paintings, including this Seated woman. In The Hague he had met the futurist Jules Schmalzigaug (1882-1917), another Belgian refugee, who had undoubtedly introduced him to the latest modern art. Soon after, in 1918, Vantongerloo became a member of the circle associated with De Stijl and one of the seminal figures of the 20th-century avant-garde.
Seated woman - Georges Vantongerloo (1886 - 1965)
Purchased in 2008

Bean cutter

1905

Jan Toorop (1858 - 1928)

black chalk, pencil and pastel on paper

In 2008 the museum has succeeded in acquiring two drawings of Jan Toorop with the support of the BankGiro Lottery: Bean Cutter from 1905 and Picking up Potatoes from 1907, which form a beautiful series with Bean Harvest from 1906, which was already in the collection.
Jan Toorop (1858-1928) was one of Helene Kröller-Müller’s favourite artists. It is thanks to her that the museum that bears her name has such a marvellous collection of his paintings, drawings and prints. The artist was at his best in his drawings: a steady and consistent oeuvre using a variety of media on paper. The museum’s collection of his drawings could serve as the basis for a comprehensive survey of the artist’s drawings, but until recently an important link was missing: the drawings he made during his regular visits to Zeeland. These highly attractive drawings are remarkable for their great freedom of expression, but they also show how Toorop was influenced by Vincent van Gogh.

The museum has always been eager to acquire drawings from the Zeeland period, in order to complete this highly specialised collection and also to stress the relationship with the museum’s rich collection of works by Vincent van Gogh.

Bean cutter - Jan Toorop (1858 - 1928)
Purchased in 2008

Gathering potatoes

1907

Jan Toorop (1858 - 1928)

black chalk, pencil and pastel on paper

In 2008 the museum has succeeded in acquiring two drawings of Jan Toorop with the support of the BankGiro Lottery: Bean Cutter from 1905 and Picking up Potatoes from 1907, which form a beautiful series with Bean Harvest from 1906, which was already in the collection.

Jan Toorop (1858-1928) was one of Helene Kröller-Müller’s favourite artists. It is thanks to her that the museum that bears her name has such a marvellous collection of his paintings, drawings and prints. The artist was at his best in his drawings: a steady and consistent oeuvre using a variety of media on paper. The museum’s collection of his drawings could serve as the basis for a comprehensive survey of the artist’s drawings, but until recently an important link was missing: the drawings he made during his regular visits to Zeeland. These highly attractive drawings are remarkable for their great freedom of expression, but they also show how Toorop was influenced by Vincent van Gogh.

The museum has always been eager to acquire drawings from the Zeeland period, in order to complete this highly specialised collection and also to stress the relationship with the museum’s rich collection of works by Vincent van Gogh.

Gathering potatoes - Jan Toorop (1858 - 1928)
Purchased in 2007

13 faggots with neon branches

1967

Jan Dibbets (1941)

faggots, neon, iron wire, electrical wiring and transformers

The installation 13 Takkenbossen met Neontak (13 Bunches of Twigs with Neon Twig) from 1967 by Jan Dibbets (Weert, 1941) was purchased in 2007 for €130,000.00 with the support of the Mondrian Foundation and the BankGiro Lottery . This acquisition strengthens the museum’s collection of Conceptual Art and the art of the 1960s avant-garde.

The work is an installation comprising bunches of twigs, to each of which a single green neon twig has been added. It was exhibited for the first time at the Konrad Fischer Galerie in Düsseldorf in 1968, and for the second and last time in 1988 at the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven as part of a retrospective exhibition of Jan Dibbets’ work. In 1997 the museum purchased one part of the work, which the gallery mistakenly sold to a private collector shortly after 1968.

In 1967 Jan Dibbets was following two paths: works that in retrospect can be seen as related to Arte Povera because of their use of materials, which include the recently acquired work, and photographic works known as Perspective Corrections, in which the artist played with photography’s deceptive nature in documenting space. One of the Perspective Corrections from 1967 has been in the museum’s collection for many years and was displayed together with the new acquisition in 2008.

The artist has said: ‘I am glad that the Perspective Correction was shown alongside this work because I had both works in my studio at that time and had no idea where they would lead me, until I opted for photography. The divisive element is to be found in their union.’

The artist has donated a design sketch for the neon twigs to the museum.

13 faggots with neon branches - Jan Dibbets (1941)
Purchased in 2007

London Knees 1966

1968

Claes Oldenburg (1929)

latex, paint, polymethylmethacrylate, wood, prints

In the mid-1960s the American Pop artist Claes Oldenburg (Stockholm 1929) began to make proposals for monumental versions of contemporary objects, which he thought appropriate for a particular location and time. The sculpture garden at the Kröller-Müller Museum has a famous example of such a sculpture: his Trowel 1 in blue-sprayed steel from 1971-76.

In 1966 he proposed the siting of a colossal pair of knees on London’s Victoria Embankment. The most important source of inspiration for this monument was the recent launch of the mini skirt. The popularity of this garment, worn in combination with boots had suddenly enlivened the city’s streets with naked knees. Another source of inspiration was the abundance of extraordinary towers, chimneys and columns in London’s architecture.

Oldenburg produced the proposal in the form of a multiple, a phenomenon typical of the art of the 1960s, which responded to the demand for affordable and accessible art works. Oldenburg found the right model for the knees in a mannequin from around the time of the Second World. He sawed out a single knee and mirrored it to produce the pair. Editions Alecto published the work in an edition of 120 copies in 1968. The final sculpture has a black perspex base and is accompanied by documents, lithographs and silkscreen prints elucidating the two-year long production process and the artist’s sources of inspiration.

London Knees 1966 is a richly layered work: sensual in its subject matter and use of materials, witty in its playful associations and important in terms of the new artistic relationship it established between the urban environment and contemporary life.
The collectors Herman and Henriëtte van Eelen-Weeber bought this example before 1970 for the original price of £500.00. It was acquired for the Kröller-Müller Museum in 2007 as a supplement to the acquisition of the couple’s collection of Conceptual Art last year.
London Knees 1966 - Claes Oldenburg (1929)
Purchased in 2007

Blossoming little tree I

1921

Bart van der Leck (1876 - 1958)

oil on canvas

The Kröller-Müller Museum has acquired a painting by Bart van der Leck from 1921 entitled Blossoming little tree I (oil on canvas, 28.3 x 44.3 cm). The painting comes from the estate of Baroness Mackay-Brückmann and her husband Baron Mackay, who died shortly after each other in 2005. Baroness Mackay-Brückmann was a granddaughter of Anton and Helene Kröller-Müller, the founders of the museum.
The painting depicts an apple tree in blossom reduced to a composition of red, blue and yellow geometric planes. The museum has owned a series of preparatory studies for the painting since 1921. Remarkably in 2006 the museum also acquired the work’s companion: Blossoming little tree II (oil on canvas, 30.7 45.7 cm, 1921). This work came from the bequest of Mr J.S.R. van Deventer, the son of the Kröller-Müller couple’s secretary.

Blossoming little tree I - Bart van der Leck (1876 - 1958)
Purchased in 2006

Untitled (ereid)

1929

Kurt Schwitters (1887 - 1948)

collage on paper

On Thursday, 22 June 2006, the director of the Kröller-Müller Museum bought an extremely fine collage by Kurt Schwitters (1887-1948) at Christie's auction house in London: Ohne Titel (ereid), from 1929. This work, which is in outstanding condition, was purchased for 210,000 pounds. Given the fact that collages from this period and of this quality do not often appear on the market, and that the museum has long desired to enrich its collection with a collage by Schwitters, the decision was made to take advantage of this opportunity. The collage is a splendid complement to Schwitters's Relief mit gelbem Viereck 2 from 1928, acquired last year.

Untitled (ereid) - Kurt Schwitters (1887 - 1948)
Purchased in 2006

Rocky lumps

2005-2006

Tom Claassen (1964)

concrete (pigmented)

On june 21, 2006 the museum presented a new acquisition in the sculpture garden: 'Rocky Lumps' by Tom Claassen.

The piece consists of large, pebble-like shapes of white concrete, lying some distance from each other in the grass. The piece gives the impression of a buried dinosaur skeleton, piercing from the ground. Apart from a sculpture 'Rocky Lumps' is also very much a location. The artist was inspired by eroded rock masses in the sea.

'Rocky Lumps' is the seventh piece by Tom Claassen (1964, works and lives in Denmark) in the Kröller-Müller collection. The sculpture garden also exhibits his piece '18 lying wooden men', dating from 2000.

The acquisition was sponsored by the BankGiro Lottery.

Rocky lumps - Tom Claassen (1964)