Towards the end of a break

Hendrick ter Brugghen, Fluteplayer, 1621

Dear Villa watchers/readers, i decided to extend my holidays as the weather is improving a bit and i must say i like the feeling of not being pressed.

Orazio Gentileschi, Judith, a Servant and Holofernes’ Head, 1620s

What does your editor do when not visiting art exhibitions?

Simon Vouet, David & Goliath, around 1621

Well, visiting art exhibitions, i guess.

Caravaggio, Medusa, 1598/9

There were and are some interesting shows these days.

Valentin de Boulogne, TheCrowning with Thorns, 1620s

In England the brexit crisis is quickly gaining momentum, in this country a narcissistic  appendix has won the elections, but in the mean time i saw more important things.

Spadarino, Christ showing his Wounds, 1625/35

Not in the least in the Centraal Museum in Utrecht where i visited the much touted exhibition Utrecht, Caravaggio and Europe. I am usually not an enthusiastic visitor of the Centraal Museum as i always find it a bit gloomy and depressing, in spite of its interesting collections.

Orazio Gentileschi, The Crowning with Thorns, 1610/15

Happily the caravaggists exhibition had nothing of that spirit.

Gerard van Honthorst, The Liberation of St peter, 1616/18

Great painting was presented in a grand way.

Medieval reliquary

As i had some time left in Utrecht i also visited the exhibition of the Münster Cathedral Treasure at Museum Catharijneconvent.

Medieval reliquary
Medieval reliquary

Highlight was the collection of medieval gold and silver reliquaries which were very well presented, although i must admit i am not a great fan of gold and silver objects, but it is the medieval awe and wonder these objects evoke i am really interested in.

Cornelis van Cleve, Mary with Child, mid 16th century
Rembrandt van Rijn, The Baptism of the Man from Ethiopia, 1628

The museum also tries to profit a bit from the upcoming Rembrandt mania this year by showing some smaller works from its own collection by masters from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, amongst which a very early work by the master himself.

Henrick Douwerman, St. Christopher, around 1525
Anonymous, Theodosia Altar, around 1545, Gueldres
Anonymous, Christ and his Disciples in the Garden of Getsemane, around 1440, probably Worms
Anonymous, Christ and his Disciples in the Garden of Getsemane, around 1440, probably Worms
Anonymous, St. John under the Cross, around 1200, Meuse region
Anonymous, St. Lambert Triptych, 1470/80, Utrecht
Anonymous, St. Lambert Triptych, 1470/80, Utrecht

The presentation of its own collection of medieval objects is probably the best one can think of, with some great pieces, including the loan from the Parisian Musée du Moyen Âge, the 15th century Saint Lambert triptych.

King and former general Horemheb and the god Horus (14th century BC)
The goddess Sekhmet of both disease and healing (14h century BC)
Feet of a lost sculpture (around 600 BC)
Small statue (around 600 BC)
Detail of a mummy coffin (700-300 BC)

A lover of Old Egyptian art and aesthetics, i visited the Gods of Egypt exhibition at the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden.

Ptahmose, vizier of Amenhotep III, 14th century BC (relief from the 13th century BC)

However, the educational aspect and the presentation of the objects and statues were so uninspiring that i preferred a stroll around the museum’s own Egyptian collection.

Wall of the chapel of the tomb of Hetepherachty (around 2400 BC)
Wall of the chapel of the tomb of Hetepherachty (around 2400 BC)

Even so i have my doubts about the presentations of these antiquities.

Donkeys on a threshing floor (around 2400 VC)
King Horemheb and his wife (1335-1320 BC)

What does the museum want? Does it want to show the aesthetics of the objects? Does it want to tell their stories? Does it want to be educational?

Canope (jar with intestines of the deceased; 14th century BC)
Queen Hatshepsut’s royal steward Senemut and Princess Neferure (1479-1458 BC)

I am sure it wants all of that at the same time, but there is a kind of scientific objectiveness in the presentation that seems to deny the aesthetic specificity of these objects and their different contexts (both the archaeological, the historical and the present day).

Holidays 033 Egypt
Probably Queen Nefertiti (around 1340 BC)

Generally, how true is the story that Old Egypt was the great ancestor of our own present-day Western culture and that it should be appropriated as such? Why are antiquities other than Egyptian, Greek and Roman stored in another museum in Leiden? And how does this idea affect the quasi-objective presentation of the museum?

In between i visited Rotterdam Zoo, designed by Sybold van Ravesteyn (1889-1983) it was built around 1940.

Sumatran tiger

It still contains many buildings and decorations of Van Ravesteyn’s design in which modernism and neoclassicism were combined.

Sacred ibis
Spotted hyena
Reticulated giraf
Pelicans in the rain

While the former Rotterdam zoo was only open to a small elite, the then new zoo opened to the general public, so the people had to be uplifted with both science, mildly modern neoclassical architecture and art.

Later on i visited Museum de Fundatie in Zwolle to see the exhibition Freedom , an exhibition compiled by critic and art historian Hans den Hartog Jager with fifty works by fifty Dutch artists of the last fifty years. There is more to be said about this interesting show, so i’ll reserve that for a more elaborate review in Villa La Repubblica (in Dutch) later next month. The building itself has been expanded with a strange and somewhat disturbing tumour on its roof.

Part of ‘The Unexpected Return of Blinky Palermo from the Tropics’ by the artists’ collective Seymour Likely

Apart from being remarkable from the outside, from the inside it has created a lot of unpractical and intrusive space. But then, of course, the swelling has to elevate Zwolle far above its provincial roots. And naturally one can make a striking exhibition even in a murky shed.

‘Peanut Butter Floor’ by Wim T. Schipper

Alas, that didn’t happen at the Stedelijk Museum in Schiedam in the exhibition Manzoni in Holland.

‘This Way Brouwn’ by Stanley Brouwn

One can regard Piero Manzoni’s (1933-1963) tins with the artist’s shit as reliquaries just as the medieval reliquaries at Museum Catharijneconvent, but in Schiedam the museum doesn’t succeed in evoking the special euphoria of Manzoni’s time.

Cylinders containing lines of deifferent lengths by Piero Manzoni

The exhibition has the atmosphere of a musty antique shop, it is an auction of grandfather’s estate.

‘No. 7’ by Heinz Mack

The novelty of Manzoni’s works and his contemporaries doesn’t come to life and any link with present day Dutch art seems to have been avoided at all cost.

Detail of an Achrome by Piero Manzoni

Such while this period has had an enormous effect on Dutch art making and appreciation today.

‘Lichtballet’ (Light Ballet) by Otto Piene

Manzoni in Holland is nothing more than nostalgia, a missed opportunity.

‘Fabricator’ by Marisa Rappard
‘Nameless Streets #1’ by Lennart Lahuis
‘Undressed Days’ by Femmy Otten

More interesting were the presentations of new acquisitions and….

Funda Gül Özcan
Neo Matloga
Neo Matloga
Lonneke van der Palen
Holidays 062 Lonneke van der Palen
Lonneke van der Palen
Neo Matloga

….of works by the contenders for the Volkskrant Visual Arts Award, Funda Gül Özcan, Neo Matloga and Lonneke van der Palen.

Jan Pieters
Jan Pieters

To end this holiday report in a more or less nepotistic way here are two paintings by my brother which i saw in Spijkenisse where he is taking part in a group show.

© Villa Next Door 2019

Contents of photographs courtesy to all artists, owners, museums and galleries involved.

Bertus Pieters

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The Bricks that Build a Home; Migratie Museum, The Hague

Amber Toorop

I visited the new Migratie Museum (Migration Museum) to write a review for Villa La Repubblica about its present exhibition (which was made in co-operation with Nest) The Bricks that Build a Home. Click here to read the review (in Dutch).

Amber Toorop

As i spent quite some words on it in the VLR review, i leave you here with some impressions of the show without comments.

Amber Toorop
Amber Toorop
Quentley Barbara
Quentley Barbara
Quentley Barbara
Quentley Barbara
Lebohang Kganye
Lebohang Kganye
Lebohang Kganye
Lebohang Kganye
Anaïs López
Anaïs López
Anaïs López
Anaïs López

© Villa Next Door 2018

Contents of all photographs courtesy to the artists, Migratie Museum and Nest, Den Haag.

Bertus Pieters

Ossip Zadkine, Zadkine by the Sea; Museum Beelden aan Zee, The Hague

1914

The Russian-born French sculptor Ossip Zadkine (1888/90-1967) has a special relationship with the Netherlands, in particular with Rotterdam, where his monument The Destroyed City, placed in 1953, became the ultimate modernist war monument (click here to see some pictures of the monument in situ).

1967
1967

Presently a prestigious retrospective of his work is on show in Museum Beelden aan Zee.

1921
1919
1919

Zadkine is clearly the proverbial artist of the second quarter of the 20th century with a lot of expressionism and cubism and a touch of Modigliani in his portraits.

1929
1936
1923

As such he was an inventive craftsman and a prolific artist, and there is a lot to be admired in the show.

1930
1924
1939

However, his prolific output also makes his work a bit predictable which becomes clear in this exhibition of one hundred works (!), crammed into this otherwise very spacious museum.

1937
1937
1935

The presentation is more or less chronological in a kind of makeshift galleries and more loosely arranged in the left over open space, an approach that tries to bring some order in this forest of sculptures.

1943
1943
1948

As such the presentation lacks good sightlines which might have expressed the special qualities of certain works in dialogue with each other.

1951
1951
1951

What lyrical power the individual works may have, is destroyed by this massive, wholesale approach.

1929
1929
1956

However, for the aficionados who just want to see a lot of Zadkine this is probably their best chance.

1950

© Villa Next Door 2018

Content of all photographs courtesy to the estate of Ossip Zadkine, all owners and to Museum Beelden aan Zee, Den Haag

Bertus Pieters

Façades of The Hague #73

 

The façade of Museum Beelden aan Zee (Sculptures by the Sea museum)  is one of the most remarkable in The Hague for such a significant building, in that it hardly exists.

Built in a dune and under a 19th century neo-classicist pavilion it only has a modernist but unassuming entrance (in Harteveltstraat) and a concrete perimeter.

It was built in 1992-94 and designed by Wim Quist (1930) for the Scholten sculpture collection.

Its real architectural value is very much in the inside and it is one the best museum buildings for sculpture imaginable.

Also for its interesting exhibitions it deserves far more prestige than it presently has.

 

Nevertheless its outside is also interesting in that it doesn’t want to be obtrusive.

It has about the same colour as the sand and it also looks like a kind of protection of the small dune area with the old pavilion on top.

In the southwest corner of the museum area sits a sculpture by Igor Mitoraj (1944-2014)

Seen from the beach the museum is hardly visible.

© Villa Next Door 2018

All pictures were taken in March 2017

Bertus Pieters

 

Façades of The Hague from #72 onwards: https://villanextdoor2.wordpress.com/category/facades-of-the-hague/

Façades of The Hague #1 – 71: https://villanextdoor.wordpress.com/category/facades-of-the-hague/