In honour of Rotterdam University's 25th anniversary, the Kunsthal is exhibiting a wide selection of works from the university's art collection. The collection of artworks is highly diverse and typical of the bold purchases made over the years for the university's main locations. The exhibition marks two decades of art collecting with an eye for dark romanticism and the unorthodox. Works by up-and-coming talents such as Koen Taselaar and Barbara Helmer are exhibited alongside those by established artists including Vanessa JanePhaff and Jos van Merendonk.
The Rotterdam University art collection consists of a hundred-plus works by over eighty artists, almost all of whom earned their professional spurs as students or teachers at the Willem de Kooning Academy. The exhibition comprises works by 44 different artists and are all highly diverse in theme, technique, medium and format. The exhibition starts with a small but compelling triptych on paper by Henri Jacobs. This is the first work in the collection and was purchased in 1995. Opposite this work is the most recent purchase dating from December 2011, a large, exuberant triptych on canvas by Royal Laureate Marie Civikov. The exhibition examines the various similarities between the works, from abstract and exploratory paintings by Maarten Janssen and Ronald de Bloeme to the refined drawings of Juul Kraijer and Sarah van der Pols showing the fragility of humankind and desolate cityscapes by Hans Wilschut and Edwin Zwakman.
A Comprehensive Art Collection
In 1994, Rotterdam University, of which the Willem deKooning Academy is a part, took the initiative of starting an art collection. As a socially engaged educational institution firmly anchored in Rotterdam's society, the university was eager to contribute to the promotion of art and culture in the city. Since then, an independent art committee has been managing the collection on a modest budget. At the same time, students and staf fcan be surrounded by and feel inspired by a varied collection of art in the university's public spaces.