Archives for The Hague

Dutch museum acquires two more sculptures by Louise Bourgeois

LB SS1Spider Couple (2003) by Louise Bourgeois

THE GEMEENTEMUSEUM, The Hague, has acquired two large sculptures by the French artist Louise Bourgeois, Spider Couple (2003), from her famous spider series and Clouds and Caverns (which has never previously been exhibited) on long-term loan. The Louise Bourgeois Studio owns a number of the artist’s larger sculptures, and it loans them to only a few museums in the world. The Gemeentemuseum,  already owns a sculpture by Bourgeois Cell XXVI (2003), from her celebrated later period, which was bought by the museum in 2011, with support from the Friends of the Gemeentemuseum and various funds. It is the only institution in the Netherlands  to own any work by Bourgeois and, after this recent acquisition, becomes one of the Louise Bourgeois Studio’s permanent partners in Europe.

LB SS2Clouds and Caverns by Louise Bourgeois

Gemeentemuseum has the world’s largest collection of Mondrians, hosts runaway shows such as the Mark Rothko exhibition and the presentation of The Vincent Award. The loan of these  sculptures confirms its rising profile in the modern and contemporary art world. “The arrival of Spider Couple and Clouds and Caverns strengthens our position even further,” says director Benno Tempel.

The purchase of Cell XXVI in 2011 was the stimulus for the Double Sexus exhibition at the Gemeentemuseum, in which the Bourgeois was closely involved. When she died shortly before the opening, at the age of 98 in 2010, the museum completed preparations for the exhibition with the Louise Bourgeois Studio. The Gemeentemuseum’s close relationship with the artist and the studio has now been cemented by the long-term loan. The two sculptures now occupy a place of honour among the permanent exhibit of modern art.

by Caroline Simpson

Rare Delftware Vases Reunited and Saved for Dutch Nation

delftware ss3The Delftware flower-holders  of King William and Queen Mary

TWO rare Dutch delftware flower-holder figurines representing William III, Stadtholder of the United Netherlands and King of England, Scotland and Ireland, and his English consort Mary have been returned to the Netherlands. After 40 years in two separate private collections in France and Belgium, the royal couple was reunited last year when The Gemeentemuseum, the Hague acquired the tall flower-holders which experts rank among the best examples of Dutch delftware anywhere in the world.

delftware SS1The flower-holders decorated as they were intended to be used

No other comparable flower-holders representing full-length court figures or marital partners are known to exist anywhere in the world. Each holder is 42.5 cm in height and is dressed in the latest fashions of the 17th century, with the male figure wearing an orientally inspired Japonse rock (banyan) and the woman, a mantua (court gown). These costumes, in combination with the jewellery and coiffure, determine that  the couple can be identified as William and Mary.

Mary was in love not only with Dutch delftware, but also with flowers like anemones, carnations, ranunculus and tulips, which at that time were  very expensive and considered exotic. Luxurious delftware flower baskets and tulip vases were a favourite way of showing them off, especially among royalty. These days both tulips and Blue Delft are widely recognised as symbols of the Netherlands.

delftware ss 2The figurines with flowers

 Benno Tempel, director of the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, says, “They are not only one of the Netherlands’ most important acquisitions of Dutch delftware for many years, they are also a powerful symbol of the economic prosperity of Golden Age Holland and of the nation’s rich royal history. It’s like discovering a new picture by Vermeer or Rembrandt.”

This acquisition of this previously unknown type of flower-holder represents a major addition to the national art collection and cultural heritage of the Netherlands. It is also a significant addition  the Gemeentemuseum’s long-standing Dutch delftware research project.

by Caroline Simpson