Museum MORE, the new museum devoted to modern Dutch realism, opens in Gorssel, in the east of the Netherlands, at 10am on Tuesday, 2 June. The museum, an extension of Gorssel’s former town hall, is a private initiative and was designed by Hans van Heeswijk Architects.
The Netherland’s biggest collection of modern realism In 2012, Hans Melchers, the initiator of Museum MORE, decided to display his collection of modern Dutch realist art (acquired following the demise of DS Art BV) in the Achterhoek, a region in the east of the Netherlands bordering Germany. His eye soon fell on the former town hall of Gorssel (available thanks to a municipal merger with Lochem). Hans van Heeswijk Architects, known for the acclaimed museum Hermitage Amsterdam and the recent successful expansion of the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, was recruited to design an impressive lobby and seven spacious exhibition halls for the new museum. As the building progressed, the collection expanded thanks to the acquisition of additional works by Arnout Killian, Carel Willink and others. The public has not seen most of the works in the collection since 2009. From 2 June 2015, the Netherlands’ biggest collection of modern realism will again be on show, and is expected to attract a wide audience.
A pavilion in a park The historic part of the building, dating from 1914, has been renovated to become a museum café and event hall. The pavilion-‐like new museum structure is characterised by strategic sightlines that make the most of the park-‐like setting. Besides exhibiting parts of the permanent collection, the building also offers space for exhibitions, administrative offices and a restoration workshop. The museum has an inviting appearance, clear layout and a surprising spaciousness. In it, Van Heeswijk repeats his distinctive use of natural materials like stone, glass and steel.
Hans van Heeswijk Architects: adventures in museums In the 30 years of its existence, the office of Hans van Heeswijk Architects has produced a consistent body of work. In addition to public buildings such as museums and town halls, it includes a broad portfolio of residential (apartment) renovations, redevelopment projects, office buildings, infrastructure works (bridges and sound barriers, for example), housing, interiors and building products. In 1991, Hans van Heeswijk Architects designed the Artotheek (art library) in Breda. In 2008, the neighbouring art centre De Beyerd was extended following a design by Hans van Heeswijk Architects, which also took in the Artotheek. The museum was considerably extended underground and rename MOTI, Museum of the Image. The Hermitage Amsterdam museum followed in 2009: this serene transformation of the 17th-‐century neoclassical Amstelhof building into a satellite museum of St. Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum was completed within four years, meeting the demands of both schedule and budget. A subsequent commission for the (largely) underground extension and renovation of the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis in The Hague was prestigious and high profile, and also technically challenging: it involved doubling the museum’s earlier dimensions. The new Museum MORE has been completed to the highest standards in a record time of just three years. At the end of the summer, the extension of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam will be unveiled (opening 4 September), with a new entrance space constructed entirely from glass.
Look Sharp: art that captures the retina Museum MORE’s opening exhibition Look Sharp provides an overview of over 200 works of realist art from the museum’s own collection, covering the past 100 years. On display are works by artists such as Carel Willink, Pyke Koch, Jan Mankes and Charley Toorop, as well as more recent pieces by the likes of Co Westerik and Annemarie Busschers.
Private art museums: the shape of things to come? Over the past 10 years, 150 private museums of modern and contemporary art have opened around the world – a marked rise, according to a recent survey by the Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant. The founders are often wealthy business owners (or their heirs). Such museums tend to pop up in countries lacking many or any public art institutions, such as China and Indonesia, but they are increasingly found even in countries with strong public museum traditions. A leader in the latter category is Germany, where more than 15 private museums have opened in the last decade. In the Netherlands, Gorssel’s new Museum MORE, which will house the country’s largest collection of modern realist art, is designed by Hans van Heeswijk Architects and will open 2 June.