Exhibition — 1 Oct 2004 until 12 Feb 2005

A tribute to the Stedelijk's influential former director (1945-1963), promted by the new publication on his acquisition policy.

This coming season the collection presentation in Stedelijk Museum CS is devoted to the activities and acquisitions of the most notable director in the Stedelijk’s history, Willem Sandberg. The immediate occasion is the publication of the book Expressie en ordening, a comprehensive study of Sandberg’s collection policy.

Sandberg held sway over the Stedelijk from 1945 to 1962, after first having been a curator. He made his name with all sorts of innovations that he carried through in the at that time still often stuffy museum world.

Walls were painted white, he provided the stately building with a restaurant, opened a library on site where the public could consult source materials, made educational activities for children a structural component of the programme and developed an unprecedented dynamism in the exhibition policy.

In part under the influence of the Bauhaus, and in analogy to the Museum of Modern Art in New York, he carried on an interdisciplinary collection and exhibition policy, with ample attention for industrial design, photography, graphic design and prints and drawings. He even attempted to establish a film department, and although he never succeeded in that, there would later be a department of video art.

He also was responsible for the first significant expansion of the Stedelijk to take place in years, the ‘New Wing’ on the Van Baerlestraat, which was opened in 1954.

The presentation in Stedelijk Museum CS, which will fill the whole second storey of the temporary home of the Museum near Central Station, comprehensively examines Sandberg’s versatility. A central presentation with highlights from the part of the collection that was assembled during his tenure will provide the anchor for the show.

There will be detailed attention for the concrete results of his views about the educational task of the museum, the functioning of a museum and the design of exhibitions. Special attention will be given to the two much-discussed exhibitions at the end of his directorate, Bewogen Beweging and Dylaby.

In addition, Sandberg’s talents as a typographer (he was originally a graphic designer) will be demonstrated with a large selection of works from his hand. Some sections of the collection will be specifically spotlighted: CoBrA and abstract art from, among others, De Stijl and Malevich, in which Sandberg had a deep interest, but also – and that is less well known – for realist and naive art.

Among the ways that the place which photography and industrial design achieved under his directorate will be examined is in a small presentation of Bauhaus-related work from the collection. Finally, on the basis of historical film material and other sources Sandberg’s own person will be brought to life in the exhibition.

The exhibition ‘Sandberg - Ode to a modern museum director’ opens September 30. At the same time the first copy of the book Expressie en ordening. Het verzamelbeleid van Willem Sandberg voor het Stedelijk Museum, 1945-1962 will be presented to Gitta Luiten, director of the Mondriaan Foundation.

Caroline Roodenburg-Schadd,
Expressie en ordening. Het verzamelbeleid van Willem Sandberg voor het Stedelijk Museum, 1945-1962
Stedelijk Museum in cooperation with NAi Uitgevers
Design: Bureau Piet Gerards / Hard bound / Illustrated (colour and b/w) / 928 pages / Format: 17 x 24 cm / Text in Dutch.
ISBN 90-5662-316-8 / EUR 42,00