The Stedelijk and The Second World War: The Sandberg Myth
24 Feb 2015

In collaboration with the EYE Film Institute the Stedelijk Museum is showing special film material on Willem Sandberg’s role as the director of the museum during the Second World War.

EYE Film Institute, room 2
7 - 9 pm
€ 10,-
Sold out

The Stedelijk Museum and the EYE Film Institute are extremely pleased with their new collaboration on an exploratory program in the context of the exhibition The Stedelijk and The Second World War. Before the exhibition opens (Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, February 27 – May 31, 2015) material from the EYE collection which has never been shown before and a short new documentary by Lex Reitsma will be presented to the public. The former director of the Stedelijk Museum, Willem Sandberg, will have a central place during this evening. What was Sandberg’s role during the war? How did he manage to deal with the political intrigues with the occupying forces, and what was his influence on the post-war legacy in the visual arts?

Willem Sandberg has been the best known and most idolized director in the history of the Stedelijk Museum. His groundbreaking ideas about art, his radical vision of the museum, and his acts of resistance before and during the Second World War still serve as an inspiration today.
The curators of the exhibition The Stedelijk and The Second World War have sought to provide a context for the stories about Sandberg. Two films from the EYE collection, Waar de Blanke Top der duinen (Where the White Summits of the Dunes) (1941) and Rembrandt in de Schuilkelder (Rembrandt in the Air-raid Shelter) (1941–1946), illustrate how Sandberg himself ingeniously contributed to the myths about his personality. This has prompted a debate among contemporaries and a new generation of researchers on how to deal with this “Sandberg Myth.” Finally, the premiere of the documentary The Stedelijk in the War by Lex Reitsma will show the world inside and outside the Stedelijk Museum during the war from a contemporary perspective.

Jaap Guldemond, head of exhibitions, EYE Film Institute, will present a brief introduction to the films. The screening will be followed by a panel debate with speakers including Margriet Schavemaker (curator of the exhibition The Stedelijk in the War); art historian Caroline Roodenburg-Schadd, author of Expressie en Ordening. Het verzamelbeleid van Willem Sandberg voor het Stedelijk Museum 1945-1962 (Expression and Order: The collection policy of Willem Sandberg for the Stedelijk Museum, 1945-1962) (Stedelijk Museum, 2004); and journalist Max Arian, author of De Sandberg-mythe (The Sandberg myth) (in De Groene Amsterdammer, Friday, December 3, 2004) and Zoeken & scheuren – de jonge Sandberg (Searching and tearing – the young Sandberg) (Johannes van Kessel Publishing, 2010). The debate will be chaired by television producer Lennart Booij, presenter of the documentary De Zoektocht: Willem Sandberg, (The Search) (AVROTROS, 2006).