Boijmans Van Beuningen acquires important library of Surrealism

Theo van Baaren, Offrande (Offer), 1989, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen 2018, Rotterdam. Geschenk van de kunstenaar aan Laurens Vancrevel en Frida de Jong 1989.

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam will receive an impressive and unique library of surrealism. The library is an important addition to the museum’s world-famous collection of surrealism

The donation by collector couple Laurens Vancrevel and Frida de Jong includes monographs, catalogues and literature on surrealism and ranges from poetry and prose to essays published in various languages. More than four thousand often unique titles from the foundation of surrealism to the present day will be transferred to Boijmans at a time to be determined. Thanks to the donation, the museum will in future have a very extensive collection of surrealist publications. As a result of this, the museum wanted to open a study center to study surrealism, which will be a world first.

Enrichment of Boijmans’ surrealism collection 

Boijmans’ collection of surrealism has been brought together since the 1960s. This collection makes Rotterdam the only city in the Netherlands that has a core collection of surrealism at world level, with masterpieces by, among others, Salvador Dalí and René Magritte. The library’s current collection of surrealist editions is related to the museum’s art collection, as well as many general basic works by surrealist authors. A special feature of the donated library is that it contains a real study and work collection, which has been gradually built up since 1960 and fully reflects the cohesion of all the arts and political ideas within Surrealism. The collection also provides a good impression of the strong international character of the movement. Curator of modern and contemporary art, Saskia van Kampen-Prein: “With this generous donation, the traditional division between surrealist art and literature is dissolved.”

Study center for surrealism in Rotterdam 

In the future knowledge center of the museum, which is being realized as part of the renovation, the pieces from the existing collection of surrealist publications by Boijmans and the library of Vancrevel and De Jong can be consulted in the surrealism study center to be set up for this purpose. The center will be open to anyone interested in surrealism; lovers of surreal art and literature as well as professionals. For the time being, there is no comparable, comprehensive library of surrealism anywhere. Of course there are other libraries worldwide that have many surrealist publications, but they are not as complete as Boijmans’s will be in the future. The titles from the Bibliothèque Kandinsky in Paris and the library of the MoMA in New York, for example, focus mainly on the visual arts of Surrealism. Laurens Vancrevel and Frida de Jong: “It is a brilliant idea by Sjarel Ex to set up a study center on surrealism in the museum’s planned knowledge center. This is a striking novelty for the museum presentation of surrealist art, not only in our own country, but also internationally. This makes it clear that in surrealism, as a philosophy of creativity, visual art is not separate from poetry and from the maker’s philosophy. Our surrealism library will be able to come into its own there. “

Vancrevel and De Jong 

Boijmans has had a warm relationship with Vancrevel and De Jong for years and the couple have been closely involved with the museum for a long time. A few years ago, Vancrevel wrote an article about the museum’s collection of surrealist publications for the file catalog “A Dream Collection.” Surrealism in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen ‘which was published in 2017 (NL / ENG). In the years that followed, he and De Jong donated 50 works of art to the museum by surrealists such as J.H. Moesman, Willem van Leusden, Kristians Tonny, Jan Schlechter Duvall, Theo van Baaren and Her de Vries. Curator Saskia van Kampen-Prein and Vancrevel are currently writing a Boijmans Study about this. This richly illustrated edition will be published in the fall of 2021 under the title “Creative Coincidence. Surrealism from the collection of Laurens Vancrevel and Frida de Jong. “After these previous contributions and art gifts, Vancrevel and De Jong now also donate their library of surrealism to Boijmans.