Boijmans’ Surrealists Arrive in New Zealand

This week 180 Surrealist masterpieces from the Rotterdam collection, landed in Wellington, NZ. It is the kick-off of a surreal world tour. Never before has there been such a large Surrealist exhibition in New Zealand.

After a long journey to the Te Papa Tongarewa museum in Wellington (NZ), the works from the surrealism collection of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, the only one in the Netherlands with such a collection, arrived safely. Four museum employees accompanied the works to New Zealand. On May 24, the design of the exhibition “Surrealist Art: Masterpieces from Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen” (Maori title: “He Toi Pohewa: He Toi Marupō o Muhiama o Boijmans Van Beuningen”) will start, which opens on June 12. The exhibition introduces the public to surrealist highlights by, among others, Salvador Dalí, Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, Francis Picabia, René Magritte and Leonora Carrington.

Masterpieces in the air 

Traveling masterpieces include surrealist masterpieces such as drawings, prints and books, and icons such as Dalí’s “Mae West Lips Sofa” (1938), a playfully unruly sofa in the form of sultry red lips. The exhibition also features leading paintings, such as Francis Picabia’s “Come with me there” (1948) and René Magritte’s “Forbidden to Depict” (1937), a painting in which a figure looks in a mirror and sees only the back of his head. The recently acquired “Again the Gemini are in the Orchard” (1947), a painting by Leonora Carrington, permeated with a dreamy fantasy, is also on display. 

Large transport

 It is the first time that Boijmans Van Beuningen’s collection has been on display in New Zealand, and the pieces are the largest surrealist exhibition to date there. Such a large transport of such a special collection also entails logistical challenges: traveling museum pieces are packaged in a specialist manner and protected against temperature fluctuations, vibrations and other conditions that may occur during transport. The artworks were mounted in climate boxes for safe transport from the depot to the Te Papa museum in New Zealand.

Boijmans Abroad 

After New Zealand, the exhibition will visit other museums around the world. Entitled “A Surreal Shock. Masterpieces from Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen ‘will be on display from November 27, 2021 to March 6, 2022 at the Seoul Arts Center (SAC) in Seoul, South Korea. After this they travel to Mexico City. A traveling collection exhibition like this one increases the visibility of the museum and the city of Rotterdam abroad. The doors of the renovated and renewed museum building will open in 2026. Until then, the collection will be exhibited at other museums in the Netherlands and abroad, and in the depot. The impressive art collection with masterpieces from Western art history, applied art and design can be seen from this autumn in the iconic Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen, designed by architectural firm MVRDV, the first publicly accessible art depot in the world.         17th May 2021