News — 8 Sep 2004

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. In addition, the exhibition deals with his ideas about the vital and open museum, which continue to be of great influence right down to the present. 

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 an architecture department, although he never succeeded in that. 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 public functioning of a museum and the design of exhibitions. With the help of audiovisual archives special attention will be given to the two much-discussed exhibitions at the end of his directorate, Moving Movement 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, especially the paintings of Charley Toorop. The place which photography and industrial design achieved under his directorate will be examined and there is also 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 book Expressie en ordening. Het verzamelbeleid van Willem Sandberg voor het Stedelijk Museum, 1945-1962 will be presented.

Information about the exhibition ‘Sandberg - Ode to a modern museum director’

Dates: October 1, 2004 -- February 13, 2005. Press preview & opening September 30, 2004

Selection and production: Dorine Mignot & Jan Hein Sassen

Design of the children’s platform: Studio Aandacht

Graphic design: Louis Lüthi

Location: Stedelijk Museum CS, Oosterdokskade 5, Amsterdam

Open: daily 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.; Thursday to 9 p.m.

Entry: € 8,00; reduced: € 4,00; children aged 0-7 and MK: free


Information on publications

Caroline Roodenburg-Schadd,

Expressie en ordening. Het verzamelbeleid van Willem Sandberg voor het Stedelijk Museum, 1945-1962

Stedelijk Museum in cooperation with NAi Publishers

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


Stedelijk Museum Bulletin nr.4 / 2004

Design: Experimental Jetset, Amsterdam / Dutch/English / 

ISSN 0921-6189 / EUR 5,00. Appears c. September 20, 2004

Information for the press

For more information and for the press preview: / +31 (0)20-5732.656