Rijksmuseum is routinely listed as among the finest museums in the Netherlands. Last year, more people took a Rijksmuseum tour than any other museum trip in the Dutch capital. This year too, it and the Van Gogh Museum are in the running for the number one spot as far as visitor count is concerned.
It loans out the works in its permanent collection to other museums around the world. The Dutch museum collection has many of the works by Rembrandt van Rijn, some of which are loaned to Mumbai for an exhibition until December-mid. The Amsterdam institution’s permanent collection even has some antique weapons, which are on loan at the nearby Stedelijk Museum.
Meanwhile, Taco Dibbits, Rijksmuseum’s Director, got a significant gift from Dutch ballet dancer Hans van Manen on November 28, 2019. With his spouse Henk van Dijk, Manen has given 21 photos taken by America’s Robert Mapplethorpe to the museum director.
Besides the 21 photographs, the gift also has 3 porcelain plates featuring floral pictures. The collection now has gay-erotic photographs by the late American photographer, Mapplethorpe.
He gained global recognition with his uncovered and raw nude photographs. He saw no difference between capturing an erected male organ or a flower. Mapplethorpe’s photos are razor-sharp, and he was among the artists that inspired many other photographers including the Netherland’s own Erwin Olaf.
The new photos will soon be displayed in the Rijksmuseum’s exhibition on American photography, which will take a look at works between 1839 and till date. The Amsterdam museum is preparing this retrospective, which is expected to be among the biggest photography shows.
Manen also made a great remark about his gesture to gift these to Dibbits’s museum. He said, “That way I continued to enjoy it myself and the works stay together forever. I have looked at it for forty years, now others can enjoy it.”
Dibbits is pleased with this couple’s special gift. “Thanks in part to benefactors like them, museums can enrich their collections with top art that would otherwise be virtually inaccessible.”
Before this, the museum had just one photo of singer-songwriter Patricia Lee Smith taken by Mapplethorpe. The rates for the American’s works have been exorbitant for years, beyond what this museum could afford. The museum manages over 150,000 photographs, and these add to what is already a broad-enough collection.