ERWIN OLAF at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

The print Nude Woman by Rembrandt will hang alongside Erin Olaf’s 1987 photograph La Penseuse (Squares)

3rd July – 22nd September.

The Rijksmuseum has been a major source of inspiration for Erwin Olaf since his early youth, with Rembrandt, Jan Steen, Breitner and other Dutch artists being hugely influential on his work. To mark the transfer of his core collection the Rijksmuseum is staging the exhibition 12 x Erwin Olaf, in which Olaf places his photographs in dialogue with Dutch painting. This is the first time that his work will be displayed alongside that of his great examples.

Core collection

This exhibition is being held to mark the transfer of Erwin Olaf’s core collection. Last year the museum received almost 500 objects from the artist, including prints, portfolios, videos, magazines, books and posters. The vast majority were gifted by the artist, and some were acquired thanks to BankGiro Lottery players.

60th birthday

The opening celebrations take place on 2nd July, the artist’s 60th birthday, and the exhibition will open to the public the following day. Olaf says, It fills me with pride that on my 60th birthday I will be surrounded by an abundance of the beauty that has inspired me since my earliest youth. This is the root of my artistic expression.


Working in collaboration with the Rijksmuseum’s director Taco Dibbits, Erwin Olaf has selected eleven photographs and one video installation for display alongside eleven paintings and one print from the Rijksmuseum collection. Their combined presentation bears witness to Olaf’s effortless ability to bridge past and present. All artists face the same challenges and use the same instruments: light, expression, texture. I recognise myself in these paintings; the inner need for self-expression, says Olaf, I find this exploration of the interior the toughest of all, but also the most enjoyable.