For the last ten months seven works of Salvador Dalí (1904-1981) have travelled to major Dalí exhibitions in Europe. Icons from Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s collection of Surrealist works, including Couple aux têtes pleines de nuages and Impressions d’Afrique have been exhibited in France and Spain. The museum is marking the homecoming of the paintings with a display of more than twenty-five works from its prestigious Surrealist collection, plus three rare loans of work by Dalí from the collection of the Museo Nacional Centro d’Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid.
Director Sjarel Ex – ‘Loans to leading international museums let the whole world see how superb Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s collection of Surrealist works really is. The collection is of inestimable value to Rotterdam and the Netherlands.’
Dalí’s monumental triptych Landscape with a Girl Skipping Rope (1936) in the museum’s collection was a key work in the exhibition in the Pompidou Centre in Paris. This canvas, more than four and a half metres wide, was restored on site in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in 2010 so that it could begin its European tour in perfect condition. The artist’s oil paintings Espagne and Le Visage de la Guerre were exhibited in the major Dalí retrospective staged by the Reina Sofia this year.
The museum is showing the Dalí works in conjunction with pieces by famous early Surrealists like Max Ernst, Francis Picabia, Giorgio de Chirico and Yves Tanguy. The new display also includes some eye-catching works, including the sensual Mae West Lips Sofa (1938). Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen has one of the five examples that were made of this world-famous piece of furniture. Along with the paintings there are ready-mades and assemblies by Dalí, Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp. There will be a painting from the Reina Sofia of a figure of a woman in front of a window, which Dalí painted when he was twenty-one. The museum will also be showing an extraordinary portrait Man Ray made in 1936, to which Dalí then added minute decoration. The Spanish loans are a fascinating complement to the museum’s own Dalís. With the three works Reina Sofia would like to thank Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen for its generous for their exhibition.
It is entirely due to curator Renilde Hammacher-van den Brande that Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen now has such an exceptional and extensive collection of Surrealist art. In the 1970s, while Coert Ebbinge Wubben was director, she bought key works like the bronze Vénus de Milo aux trois tiroirs (1936/1964). Various pieces came from the collection of Edward James, an important patron of artists including Dalí and René Magritte. Hammacher also curated the major Dalí exhibition in 1970; the artist marked the event by visiting Rotterdam. Since her appointment Surrealism has remained an important area of collection. The museum has strengthened its collection of Surrealist works with work by Meret Oppenheim, Unica Zürn and others. In the new display, recent purchases like Métronome, an object by Dalí (purchased in 2011), and the oil painting Paysage avec nuages roses by Yves Tanguy (purchased in 2007) can be seen in a wider context for the first time.
‘An Umbrella, a Sewing Machine and a Dissecting Table – Surrealism à la Dalí in Rotterdam’ until 2 February 2014.