Money, good taste, and an eye for great art

One hundred years ago, Helene Kröller-Müller had money (lots and lots of money), very good taste, and acquired art because she loved it, not as an investment. If this sounds familiar, we just read the obituary of Rachel “Bunny” Mellon, who recently died at the age of 104. Like Helene, Bunny Mellon used her wealth to buy beautiful objects and art. The obituary pointed out that few have had the combination of mega-wealth and great taste, and they purchased art for love and not for investment purposes.

Bunny and Helene certainly would have appreciated each other’s collections. Helene started to buy Van Gogh’s work before it was well known and amassed a collection so large that only the Van Gogh Museum has more of his works.

Helene Kröller-Müller and her husband, Anton Kröller, lived in the Netherlands, and their vast art collection is on display in the Kröller-Müller Museum at Hoge Veluwe National Park.

We visited the museum after a long bike ride around the park. We think the Kröller-Müller Museum ranks as one of the best art museums we’ve ever seen. The works were stunning and with so few people in the museum, we had space and time to really look at the works. We selected a few paintings you might enjoy seeing – with a few details you don’t see looking at their image in a picture book.

 

VAN GOGH STARS

Van Gogh’s stars are famous. We finally saw his stars close up.

Van Gogh’s stars are famous. We finally saw his stars close up.

The star detail was from “Terrace of a Café at Night”, Vincent van Gogh, 1888

The star detail was from “Terrace of a Café at Night”, Vincent van Gogh, 1888

 

A FEW STROKES OF PAINT IS ALL IT TAKES

Van Gogh created hills with a few deft colorful strokes.

Van Gogh created hills with a few deft colorful strokes.

The hills are in the upper right corner of “Wheat field with reaper and son”, Vincent van Gogh, 1889

The hills are in the upper right corner of “Wheat field with reaper and son”, Vincent van Gogh, 1889

 

LOOKS LIKE CONFETTI

If we’d only seen this detail closeup – we’d never be able to guess what it was.

If we’d only seen this detail closeup – we’d never be able to guess what it was.

The answer: a cloud! And we thought it really worked. (Sorry to have not recorded the name or artist for this painting.)

The answer: a cloud! And we thought it really worked. (Sorry to have not recorded the name or artist for this painting.)

 

A SECOND GLANCE

On first glance we saw blocks of color outlined in black in “Composition with grid 5: lozenge, composition with colors”, Piet Mondriaan, 1919

On first glance we saw blocks of color outlined in black in “Composition with grid 5: lozenge, composition with colors”, Piet Mondriaan, 1919

DSC09611

On second glance the intersecting lines in many of the boxes offered a different dimension – a twist and texture.

 

DO WE SEE THE SAME THING?

Even when looking at the same scene, would we interpret what we saw the same as the next person? Two artists paint the same scene.

Landscape with haystack”, Jan Vijlbrief, 1894

Landscape with haystack”, Jan Vijlbrief, 1894

Hohe Veluwe National Park Hohe Veluwe National Park - kroller-Muller Museum

Farm in the dune district”, Johan Aarts, 1895

We’re prepared to concentrate on the few pieces that we find compelling in art museums we visit. Who can see everything? This visit was different. Every work was drawing us in, and we wanted to spend more time with each. We guess that’s what happens when one person with good taste and lots of money puts together a world-class collection.

 

September 2014

 

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
This entry was posted in Around-the World - 2013-14, Netherlands and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Money, good taste, and an eye for great art

  1. icelandpenny says:

    So revealing, your combination of details and whole images — thank you for taking us through this exercise.

  2. Fascinating images and commentary. Thank you for sharing your experience at this museum.

    • You are welcome, and thank you for following simpletravelourway and for commenting. As we continue our travel around the world, we are reminded almost daily of your blog post, “Did you see anything interesting today?” As for birds, we added a new one to our list just while sipping coffee and orange juice at our riad in Marrakech one morning. Didn’t even have to go out walking early to do that.

  3. We plan to visit Amsterdam in November this year, and I really want to go to this museum. However, it seems hard to access there if you don’t have a car. Would it be possible for you to share with me how could you go to the park where this museum is located?

    Thank you for this post. The art looked amazing.

    • Our friends drove us to the park and to the museum, so we didn’t have to negotiate the public transportation to those places. However, before we knew that we had a ride, Beth had researched how we would travel to those sites by public transportation. She found that it was possible and that it appeared to be convenient and inexpensive. Her sources of information were the “how to get there” pages for the Kröller-Müller museum , and the The Hoge Veluwe National Park . We found the local folks eager to be helpful in giving directions, and we hope you have no trouble finding your way. Many thanks for your comment and question.

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