Gallery talks — 17 Apr 2015

Entrance price to the museum + € 2.50
Exhibition area
17 Apr 2015, 1 pm until 2 pm
Main language
Reservations must be made at

The Stedelijk Museum is pleased to invite you to a special series of Gallery Talks on Friday afternoons with the experts behind the exhibition The Stedelijk Museum & The Second World War, which can be seen from February 21 to May 31. During the tour, the presenters discuss their own selection of artworks according to areas of expertise, research, or interests. In this way, the Stedelijk Museum provides room for new, and above all, personal reflections on the paintings and drawings in the exhibition.

All the guest speakers have a relationship with the themes of the exhibition: member of the research staffMargreeth Soeting (Stedelijk Museum) carried out research for the exhibition in the museum archives; lecturer Claartje Wesselink (University of Amsterdam) wrote for the catalogue and is an expert on the art world during the war years, and co-curator Gregor Langfeld (University of Amsterdam) organized the exhibition together with Margriet Schavemaker (Head of Research at the Stedelijk Museum).

The Stedelijk during the war 

The exhibition The Stedelijk Museum & The Second World War takes place on the seventieth anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands, and shows works from the museum’s collection as well as unique visual materials which have not been exhibited before. These materials are presented along with and contextualized by results of the research into the provenance of the works of art. 
As part of the national project “Museum Acquisitions since 1933,” the Stedelijk, like many other Dutch museums, has conducted detailed research in recent years into the provenance of works in its collection. These efforts have identified sixteen works which possibly do not belong in the museum, due to reasons such as having been sold by collectors under duress, or because they had remained in the museum after the war. These works include those by Kandinsky, Matisse, and Jan Toorop. The heirs of some of these works of art are known and a request is being submitted to the Restitution committee, which, together with the city of Amsterdam  (the present owner), will seek to find a satisfactory solution for the future of these works.

In the exhibition, the often tragic stories behind these works are explained in wall texts, short films, and archival documents which were found after years of detective work. There are also a number of works in the exhibition for which it is still not clear how they made their way into the collection. As this exhibition shows, for museums like the Stedelijk, the Second World War is by no means completely over. 

More about the speakers 

Claartje Wesselink studied English and philosophy and gained her doctorate in 2014 with a cultural and historical thesis Kunstenaars van de Kultuurkamer. Geschiedenis en herinnering (Artists of the Kultuurkamer. History and memory). She is an expert on the art world during the war years and co-authored the biography H.N. Werkman (1882-1945). Leven en werk (H.N. Werkman (1882-1945). Life and work), which was published at the end of 2014 in the context of the Werkman Foundation 2015. Wesselink works as a lecturer for the faculty of the cultural history of Europe at the University of Amsterdam.