After the success of the exhibitions Kandinsky & Der Blaue Reiter and Haute Couture it is the turn of gems from the collection to dazzle, amaze and open the eyes of the visitor. Famous names jostle for attention: Egon Schiele, Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Piet Mondrian, Paul Cézanne, Wassily Kandinsky, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Jan and Charlie Toorop, Constant, Jan Schoonhoven, Louise Bourgeois, Francis Bacon and Marlene Dumas. It is rare to see so many art treasures displayed at once. These highlights – both familiar pieces and new discoveries – have now been brought together in the exhibition Changing times – New worlds.
Perhaps the truest thing that can be said about art is that it is above all the child of its time. As times change, new worlds are created. That has been true for centuries and it still holds true today. In the exhibition Changing times – New worlds, the Gemeentemuseum showcases the very best it has to offer. Each exhibition room presents a different world in images, from the wild Expressionism of Kandinsky to the soft, sweet hues of Monet’s Wisteria and the underlying tension of Magic Realists like Carel Willink and Pyke Koch.
Visitors to the exhibition can trace the course of Mondrian’s life, from his figurative Symbolist works to his abstract compositions, culminating magnificently in Victory Boogie Woogie. They can even peek into the sketchbooks in which Mondrian committed his thoughts on form to paper: assured renderings of the start of a mental journey. In addition to top works by Dutch artists, the exhibition also features top international art, like the Gemeentemuseum’s recent acquisition Cell XXVI by Louise Bourgeois, and six monumental paintings by Francis Bacon, which surround Bruce Nauman’s oppressive Carousel. In other rooms, displays of other recent acquisitions bring together leading contemporary artists Michael Raedecker, Daniel Richter and Marlene Dumas for the first time.
Besides highlights from the Gemeentemuseum’s collection, the exhibition sets out to surprise the visitor with elements of the unexpected. These include a series of 19th-century Japanese prints as well as colourful printed work by Hendrik Nicolaas Werkman, a member of the artists’ group ‘De Ploeg’ (‘the Plough’) who, like Paul Gauguin, desired to go to Tahiti to taste the delights of tropical life. Confined to the Netherlands by a lack of money, he resourcefully created his own Eden, entitled Island of Women.
The exhibition consists of two parts, the first of which can be viewed through 19 August and the second from 31 July through 14 November.