The Favourites of… Saskia van Kampen
Never before has there been such a good reason to encourage family, friends and acquaintances to visit the museum. ‘An exhibition of this calibre occurs in the Netherlands only rarely,’ said Saskia van Kampen-Prein (40), the curator and compiler of Mad About Surrealism. The exhibition tells the story of the Surrealist movement. It traces the development of artists like Dalí, Ernst, Magritte and Miró and at the same time reflects the passion of five important collectors; Roland Penrose, Edward James, Gabrielle Keiller and Ulla and Heiner Pietzsch.
‘Tête de paysan Catalan (1925) is a fantastic and relatively early work by Joan Miró. Roland Penrose acquired it from the Belgian art collector René Gaffé along with various other masterpieces in 1937. Shortly before, Gaffé had learned that he was incurably ill and so disposed of much of what he owned. After the sale he found out that he had been wrongly diagnosed.’
‘As a patron Edward James was a major driving force for Surrealism. The ‘paranoiac’ furniture James commissioned Salvador Dalí to make in the nineteen-thirties is as spectacular as ever. Alongside our own Mae West Lips Sofa (1938) and White Aphrodisiac Telephone (1936) we are showing an unusual fire-screen, two lamps, a chair and preliminary sketches and photographs.’
‘La représentation (1937) by René Magritte is an extremely unusual work from the collection of Gabrielle Keiller. It is the only shaped canvas Magritte ever made. He took his inspiration from Salvador Dalí’s Couple aux têtes pleines de nuages (1936), which is in our collection. The two works are reunited in Mad About Surrealism.’
Ulla en Heiner Pietzsch
‘Among all the monumental artworks there is a small collage entitled Le déclin de la société bourgeoise (c. 1935-39). Although not the most important work, it is nonetheless one of my favourites. In a number of ways it touches the very heart of Surrealism: it was made by André Breton and the title conveys one of the most important objectives of Surrealism: the decline of the bourgeoisie.’