1909-1975 - Modernity in Western Europe and the United States. - Part of The Collection Now


1909-1975 - Modernity in Western Europe and the United States. Part of The Collection Now

02/11/2013 - 02/04/2017
Curators: Christiane Berndes, Charles Esche, Diana Franssen

Ground floor collection building


The ground floor is devoted to paintings, photography, archive items and documentation from the period 1909-1975. From an art historical viewpoint this is the era of the avant-gardes and of modernism. The revolutions and wars of the twentieth century, the rise of the consumer society and its critics, and the ascendancy of New York, all receive attention. The period concludes with the late-sixties rejection of traditional norms and values, and the emergence of the art market. Significant moments and events in the history of art are illuminated and placed in a wider social perspectives.

The Collection Now

Starting on 2 November 2013, the Van Abbemuseum presents a completely new narrative presentation of its collection. Entitled The Collection Now, the exhibition brings together artworks, archives, histories and relations in historical constellations that connect individual artworks to the social and political contexts in which they were made and exhibited. The works are spread over five floors, starting with a Picasso from 1909 and ending with works from 2013. Never before has the museum exhibited such a comprehensive selection with over 600 elements being brought together to tell stories of aesthetics, ethics and politics over the last 100 years. Besides giving attention to art from the last century, a significant part of the exhibition is devoted to art after 1989 and to new acquisitions not previously shown. The presentation can be seen for five years, but it is certainly not a static exhibition, there will be regular changes.


Besides the artworks, the museum introduces other elements which play an important role in the presentation. Contexts provides a framework for the works that are exhibited, as well as an additional background for the basic story behind the presentation of the collection. In the Toolshop you will find different stories and interpretations by people from outside the museum, individuals with a different kind of knowledge and a different background. The Museum Index visualises the information that lies concealed in the numeric details of our art collection. The presentation  shows fragments from Dutch documentaries and how Dutch film makers are related to the events in the world.



Spring 2017: changes in collection presentation

In the spring of 2017, the five floors of The Collection Now will change to new exhibitions with artworks from the Van Abbemuseum's collection. On the page 'collection under construction' you can find a overview of the changes in the collection building.
This part of The Collection Now will be on display until 2 April 2017.