Selection from the Stedelijk Museum collections.
This catalogue anticipates a more detailed publication which is also for the purpose of including the usual art-history data. The present volume should, therefore, be considered in the nature of a general survey of this summer’s exhibition of the museum’s own collections. Consequently, it only contains particulars on the parts of the various collections which will be on display this summer. Due to lack of space many works, including several of considerable importance, cannot now be shown. This made it all the more difficult to keep a basic selection. The works selected can only be shown during the summer because the greater part of the museum’s total space is needed for the series of exhibitions organized from about the middle of September to the middle of June.
The summer exhibition of the museum’s own collections includes painting and sculpture, prints and drawings as well as examples of the decorative arts.
This exhibition is not intended as a well-balanced art-history survey. What was aimed at was to highlight the connection of the works assembled in any one room, to turn each room into the most homogenous entity possible, thus giving visitors an awareness of the spiritual kinship between artists sharing a common aim. In the succession of rooms, however, the intention is to create obvious contrasts, in order to give visitors an idea of the plurality of forms 20th century-art has assumed.
In fact as well as in this catalogue some sections of this summer exhibition are outstanding: works by Van Gogh (on loan by the Vincent van Gogh Foundation), Breitner, Chagnall and Malevich, by members of the Cobra Group (especially Appel and Corneille) as well as by Dubuffet, post-1960 American art (Pop Art, Hard Edge) and French nouveau realisme. These are the specialites de la maison bringing out in full relief certain aspects of the collection. Our collection of sculpture is no independent entity but it should be seen in relation to our collection of paintings.
Among the specimens selected from our Print Room, Werkman’s prints and drawings alone represent a unique collection by themselves as well as a fascinating contrast when seen in juxtaposition with prints and drawings by the artists mentioned above.
Furniture designed by the architect Gerrit Rietveld and a few recently acquired tapestries stand out among the specimens of the applied arts; this section includes pottery (mainly Dutch) as well as examples of industrial design, posters and rare books. Dutch artists are extensively represented in every one of the exhibition’s sections.
The museum’s continuous interest in the latest tendencies in the world of the arts is one of its policies for the entire collection. As already mentioned, this summer exhibition does include the most recent purchases; these are, necessarily, rather isolated exhibits. I hope that future acquisitions will soon show more clearly the connection between these specimens and the collection as a whole.