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.

Roland Penrose

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.’

Joan Miró, Tête de paysan Catalan / Head of a Catalan Peasant, 1925. Oil on canvas, 92.4 x 73 cm, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, inv. no. GMA 4252, purchased together with the Tate, with assistance from the Art Fund in 1999. Former collection of Roland Penrose.
Joan Miró, Tête de paysan Catalan / Head of a Catalan Peasant, 1925. Oil on canvas, 92.4 x 73 cm, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, inv. no. GMA 4252, purchased together with the Tate, with assistance from the Art Fund in 1999. Former collection of Roland Penrose.

Edward James

‘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.’

Salvador Dalí, Mae West Lips Sofa, 1938. In association with Edward James, made by Green & Abbott. Wood and wool, 92 x 215 x 66 cm. On loan from Stichting Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen 2003, inv. no. V 2280 (KN&V). Former collection of Edward James.
Salvador Dalí, Mae West Lips Sofa, 1938. In association with Edward James, made by Green & Abbott. Wood and wool, 92 x 215 x 66 cm. On loan from Stichting Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen 2003, inv. no. V 2280 (KN&V). Former collection of Edward James.
Salvador Dalí, White Aphrodisiac Telephone, 1936. In association with Edward James, made by Green & Abbott. Plastic, plaster, oil, string, metal and paper, 20 x 32 x 15 cm. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, inv. no. BEK 1676 (MK). Former collection of Edward James.
Salvador Dalí, White Aphrodisiac Telephone, 1936. In association with Edward James, made by Green & Abbott. Plastic, plaster, oil, string, metal and paper, 20 x 32 x 15 cm. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, inv. no. BEK 1676 (MK). Former collection of Edward James.

Gabrielle Keiller

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.’

René Magritte, La représentation / The Representation, 1937. Oil on canvas on plywood, with torso-shaped frame: 53.7 x 49.5 cm. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, inv. no. GMA 3546, purchased 1990. Former collection of Gabrielle Keiller, formerly owned by Roland Penrose (from 1938 to 1979).
René Magritte, La représentation / The Representation, 1937. Oil on canvas on plywood, with torso-shaped frame: 53.7 x 49.5 cm. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, inv. no. GMA 3546, purchased 1990. Former collection of Gabrielle Keiller, formerly owned by Roland Penrose (from 1938 to 1979).
Salvador Dalí, Couple aux têtes pleines de nuages / A Couple with their Heads Full of Clouds, 1936. Oil on panel, figure on the left, with frame: 98.5 x 77 x 4.5 cm, figure on the right, with frame: 87.5 x 72.4 x 4.5 cm. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, inv. no. 2988 a-b (MK). Former collection of Edward James.
Salvador Dalí, Couple aux têtes pleines de nuages / A Couple with their Heads Full of Clouds, 1936. Oil on panel, figure on the left, with frame: 98.5 x 77 x 4.5 cm, figure on the right, with frame: 87.5 x 72.4 x 4.5 cm. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, inv. no. 2988 a-b (MK). Former collection of Edward James.

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.’

André Breton, Le déclin de la société bourgeoise / The Decline of Bourgeois Society, c. 1935-39. Collage on paper, 135 x 87 mm. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, inv. no. GMA 3945. Former collection of Gabrielle Keiller, bequeathed in 1995.
André Breton, Le déclin de la société bourgeoise / The Decline of Bourgeois Society, c. 1935-39. Collage on paper, 135 x 87 mm. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, inv. no. GMA 3945. Former collection of Gabrielle Keiller, bequeathed in 1995.