Van Gogh, Rietveld, Léger and others
Exhibition — 18 May until 24 Sep 2023
The Stedelijk presents over 300 works by 200 artists and designers, from as many as 20 movements. MODERN takes a fresh look at internationally known names such as Vincent van Gogh, Gerrit Rietveld, and Fernand Léger, and highlights lesser-known creators such as Suzanne Valadon, Germaine Krull, and Christopher Dresser. Discover just how refreshing and innovative artists and designers were, and way ahead of their time.
a showcase of public favorites
works that have not been seen for a long time
New acquisitions shown for the first time
The nineteenth century: a turning point
The nineteenth and early twentieth centuries: a time of industrialization, steam engines and ocean liners, of science and photography, advertising, and a flourishing nightlife. The public starts buying art and wants to identify with its own era. There is less need for history pieces and biblical tales, people want to see relatable subjects from everyday life, and preferably a glimpse of the future. The same applies to design: new materials and techniques are in tune with their own times.
Artists and designers broke with traditions and laid the foundations for what we now see as modern. From realism and impressionism to Dada, from Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau to Bauhaus and De Stijl: each creator was ground-breaking.
- Emile Gallé
- Vincent van Gogh
- Paul Gauguin
- Josef Hoffmann
- Fernand Léger
- Piet Mondriaan
- Claude Monet
- William Morris
- Charlotte Perriand
- Gerrit Rietveld
- George Hendrik Breitner
- Odilon Redon
- Jan Toorop
- Christopher Dresser
- Marcel Breuer
- Hannah Höch
Many artists envision a better world and focus on creating art that reflects modern life, that everyone can see. One of the highlights of the exhibition is Jan Toorop’s monumental preliminary studies for a ceramic triptych that can still be found in the Beurs van Berlage. Likewise, designers want their work to contribute to an ideal society. De Stijl and Bauhaus introduced sober, functional design, stripped of ornamentation, and aimed at creating a new, universal society for everyone. However, the most successful art that served a social function originated outside Europe and North America: the exhibition features ceremonial objects such as a mosque tapestry from Iran, barkcloths from Fiji and New Guinea, a Kuba rug from Congo, and garments worn by the Maroon communities of Suriname.
MODERN shows how even works that look traditional were in fact innovative in their own time. And how objects with a surprisingly modern look were sometimes strongly influenced by work that originated outside Europe.
What is the difference between modern, modernity, and modernism? The publication accompanying the exhibition gives insight in this and other questions. Curators and other specialists delve into the themes explored in the exhibition through texts and in-depth interviews. The publication is available in English and Dutch at the museum shop.
Additionally, Stedelijk Studies, the museum's online research platform, regularly publishes articles, interviews, and essays related to the Modern exhibition.
The exhibition MODERN — Van Gogh, Rietveld, Léger and others is generously supported by the Blockbusterfonds.
Campaign music: Petite suite, CD 71, L. 65: I. En bateau (Live), Performed by Martha Argerich, Composed by Claude Debussy, (p)2014 Warner Classics