Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam at 125 Years: Twenty-First-Century Challenges for the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art and Design
“Museums are processes,” suggested the Brazilian ICOM delegation as part of their proposal for a new museum definition in 2019. This might sound to some like the complete opposite of what, at least in Europe, museums seemingly represent: preservation and permanence. However, processes, in the sense of changes and shifts, have to increasingly define the dynamics of museums in the twenty-first century. The debate around the “new museum” or the “museum of the future” is not a phenomenon of this century, as Nora Sternfeld points out, but rather has again become a major concern. Sternfeld quotes Alfred Lichtwark, who in 1904 argued “Solange die Museen nicht versteinern, werden sie sich wandeln müssen. (As long as museums do not petrify, they will have to change.)” Lichtwark’s statement came at the height of European colonialism. Today “Western” museums cannot plan their future without acknowledging their history of legitimizing racist and colonial violence.
“Any museum which thinks it can incorporate or grasp the best texts and productions of modern artistic practice, believing the world is still organized in a center/periphery model, simply does not understand the contradictory tensions which are in play,” reasoned Stuart Hall around twenty years ago. More recently, Sternfeld called for a “deprovincialization” of the museum by reflecting back its provincial character to the current state of the debate on museums in Europe and North America. It is a possibility for museums to no longer just create their own distorting mirror, but to redesign themselves in difference and negotiation.
This has gained momentum, most recently since the summer of 2020, when the uncertainty, pain, and disruption caused by systemic racism and ignorance was ferociously amplified through the global protests of the murder of George Floyd. At the time, many “Western” cultural institutions aligned themselves in solidarity with the cause. The big question is now: Through which processes can this understanding, acknowledgement, and solidarity be turned into sustainable structural shifts?
European museums have to ask themselves fundamental questions. How inclusive are we, how diverse? What does inclusivity and diversity even mean? How do we commit to concepts such as “decolonization” and “globality”? How “radical” can or should we be, and what is “radical”? Will we find sensitive ways to redistribute resources? Are we able to tackle these tasks and challenges from within the institution? How can we better reflect the societies of which we are a part? Are we capable of sharing or even giving up power?
Many museums are beginning to have conversations about these questions, creating thoughtful exchange, but also discomfort. They are trying to learn how to deal with that discomfort and how to turn it into productive and transparent processes. “It (the museum) must make its own disturbance evident so that the viewer is not entrapped into the universalized logic of thinking, whereby because something has been there for a long period of time and is well funded, it must be ‘true’ and of value in some aesthetic sense. Its purpose is to destabilize its own stabilities,” as Hall also once pointed out.
A crucial aspect of this “destabilization” is that museums are beginning to understand that concepts such as diversity, inclusion, migration, decolonization, digitization, and globalization are not a matter of “us” and “them,” but concern everyone, albeit of course in very different ways. It also includes an understanding that this is not a current moment or trend which can be “solved” by an exhibition, conference, panel, or performance before moving on to “the next hot topic.” Sustainable changes which go deep enough to cause real shifts therefore should be the goal. Museums do not need to be instantly successful in this respect. Only those museums which acknowledge failure, and regard failure as productive, will succeed in repositioning themselves in the long run. It might and maybe should take years of thinking, working, experiencing, talking, and growing. Benédicte Savoy once called museums time machines, as different times meet in these spaces. For example, the visitors’ time as well as the time of the museum itself—in the sense of the time when objects entered the institution, which happened at certain times and under certain circumstances, and which were usually favorable for the museums. For Savoy, the latter is invisible time, which is becoming increasingly indispensable to make visible. To make that happen, European museums have to acknowledge these “favorable circumstances” which led to very one-sided ideas of art history. As Claire Bishop suggests, “This doesn’t mean that they (museums) subordinate art to history in general, but that they mobilize the world of visual production to inspire the necessity of standing on the right side of history.” Of course, it remains debatable what the “right” side of history is. But it certainly includes one thing: The fact that the most varied art histories already exist, along with not one, but many canons. This is also reflected in this issue of Stedelijk Studies, where key concepts of these histories, such as “modernity/modernism” and “decolonization,” are being interpreted by the contributing authors in different ways.
Modernism, as an expression and reflection of “Western” metropolitan cultures of the past century, determined the hierarchies of a supposed art historical canon. This universalizing idea of Modernism either expected any “non-Western” artistic production to accord to it or merely perceived it as a mimicry of Western counterparts. Consequently, this negated the emergence of Modern art beyond Euro-America. In recent years the idea that there have been multiple Modernisms around the globe has slowly emerged within “Western” perceptions of art history. There have been and still are numerous efforts to define a corrective towards the Eurocentric historiography. This includes the acknowledgement of the interdependences between modernism and colonialism, as well as how such interdependences intersect with other concerns of critical discourses. In accordance with that, there are also highly varied, more specified definitions of these modernisms. One aspect which might unify those various definitions could be called “global Modernisms,” which describes the idea of the transnational entanglement of Modernist arts, meaning any art that is not “pre-modern,” “early modern,” or “traditional” in their respective contexts. Another approach is the idea that modernity and hence also “Modern art” is a specific genealogy of “Western” civilization, which in turn regards thought concepts outside of it as independent totalities which cannot be reduced to the history of modernity.
The definition of decolonization as a concept is similarly complex and multilayered. It greatly depends on the contexts it is associated with—visual arts, design, education, etc. The various ways in which the contributors use it in this issue of Stedelijk Studies are therefore merely a glimpse of a reflection of what decolonization should, could, can, or will be. The acknowledgement of abusive racist global and local systems and networks, however, is the ultimate bottom line. As a result, what ideas of decolonization do have in common is that these are about unlearning, changing, or even building new structures; about recentering, sharing power, and redistributing resources.
Like the museum, Stedelijk Studies is also in a transition phase. The process of compiling this edition was accompanied by many thoughts on how the journal can begin to adapt to the shifts within the debates and within the institution. This included the consideration to open up in various directions; in terms of the assembled contributors, by moving beyond the until now strictly academic and mainly white European background, but also in terms of the format of texts. One idea in this respect was to consider different kinds of academic writing, as authors who are not part of the academic system certainly can be experts who provide excellent new insights. The goal was a greater accessibility of the produced content. This inherently leads to questions with regard to the very nature of academic research. Who defines its standards, and which tools measure its quality? What about the necessity to be aware of universalizing ideas regarding these standards, given that they are closely connected to “Western” definitions of academia? Of course, the realities of writers in highly varied contexts can—or perhaps rather should—influence their individual ideas about and perspectives towards academic methodologies. It is important to consider how the most diverse possibilities of access to knowledge production determine whether someone can (or wants to) rise to the academic standards determined from a specific perspective.
With this issue, we aimed for a varied set of contributions which we deemed reflective of the current discourse as much as of the history and present of the Stedelijk Museum. While this issue gathers texts that do exactly that, there are also aspects, such as more international perspectives on the decolonization of museum exhibition practices and collection strategies, which could have been addressed more comprehensively. This also applies to the idea of incorporating contributions from design perspectives, given that the museum owns considerable design collections. Part of these processes is that they have an unknown, uncontrollable facet. In particular in a process like this one, where contributions were invited through an open call. In addition, we should acknowledge that, while wanting to open up the academic sphere, it was not yet possible to change the common rule that contributors are not compensated for their writing. This, however, is a set goal to come. Unpaid labor is a strange luxury that many important voices from various perspectives do not want to and should not afford. We failed to adjust a system reiterating already existing hierarchies and inequalities—a filter which led to a preselection of those who submitted suggestions in response to the call. As a result, not all the topics that could have been possible are being addressed here. This failure is neither a problem nor a fault, it rather reflects the realities out there. Still, it is clear that this system urgently needs to be changed. Putting together this Stedelijk Studies issue therefore has been part of a learning and changing process which is not finished yet and will continue to be reflected in future issues that will be published.
The contributions to this issue touch upon four main aspects concerning the 125-year-long history of the Stedelijk Museum and its twenty-first-century challenges: collections, key studies of other museums as references or examples, (historic) exhibitions at the museum, and the topic of collaboration.
In his essay “[Re]collections, [De]collections, and the People Curatorial,” Ali As’ad examines the different collecting strategies of the Palestinian Museum in Birzeit. As’ad looks at how the museum, before it aimed to build a permanent collection, initially sought to preserve the Palestinian community’s cultural memory by digitally collecting experiences, interactions, and memories. He outlines how the museum used a collecting strategy of “lock, stock and barrel” by borrowing objects from personal or semi-institutional collections, and conserving, digitizing, and uploading them to an open-access platform. As’ad argues that this methodology of digital collecting distinguishes the museum from being “just” a Kunsthalle—an institution which organizes temporary exhibitions, but does not itself collect. Furthermore, he states how, by acknowledging everyday objects as valuable cultural resources, the Palestinian Museum claimed a museological historiography from its peoples, a “history from below.” According to As’ad, the Palestinian Museum thus established a “people curatorial” through the material participation and digital accumulation of peoples. For him, the “people curatorial” offers a different semantic model of a museum in the twenty-first century and additionally reflects a continuous commitment to restitution.
Najiba Yasmin explores in her essay “In All Fairness: An Exploration of Ethical Collaborative Practices” how establishing ethical collaborations requires ongoing processes of collective (un-)learning. As a key study she uses aspects of the mediation program of the exhibition Chagall, Picasso, Mondrian and Others: Migrant Artists in Paris, which took place at the Stedelijk Museum from September 2019 to February 2020. Yasmin reflects on how the Salon, a concluding part of the exhibition and audio tour, which were both conceived by a team of People of Color (POC), revealed how obvious power relations as much as informal hierarchies still remained in place. While the museum aimed at including non-homogenous perspectives which actually make up the Dutch audience, Yasmin points out the importance of being careful in regards to how this aim was and is still exercised. By carving out the complexities of inviting POC creative professionals as collaborators of the museum, she argues for the establishment of a fair practice of collaborations by, among other things, shifting power, acknowledging privilege, identifying access barriers, and understanding the broader museum context, also through feedback mechanisms and aftercare processes. Yasmin is courteous not to mention it by name, but exactly in this regard something went wrong in the “Migrant Artists in Paris” project. We learned from her essay, and now we have to put into practice her excellent insights.
Where most museum collections have historically been very white and male, and many Dutch museums are late to the task of collecting outside of the safety of their Eurocentric bubble, curators are faced with a number of difficulties in their job of diversifying the collection and presenting artworks in a context befitting of our evolved understanding of colonial and social injustice. Fabienne Chiang’s essay, “After(-)Images: Problematizing Collections of Early Documentary and Anthropological Photography in the Art Museum in the Postcolonial Age,” looks into the difficulties experienced by the photography curator in particular. Touching on subjects such as the power dynamics between individuals depicted in the photographs and those behind the camera and the geographic and racial division of early photographs collected by institutions in the Netherlands—art museums such as the Stedelijk Museum, as well as ethnographic institutions—raises questions about how this distinction of the past affects our present, and ultimately about possibilities and difficulties in working together with ethnographic institutions in the pursuit of diversifying presentations.
In her essay “Space, Movement, and Body: Marlow Moss,” Gülce Özkara focuses on a particular case: an abstract painting from 1953 by Marlow Moss in the collection of the Stedelijk Museum. Moss encountered the work of Piet Mondrian in Paris in the late 1920s. They wrote letters to one another to exchange ideas and develop their theory. Moss created a spatial dynamic with distinctive double and truncated lines. Despite Mondrian’s apparent indifference to Moss’s theories, he quickly adopted this innovation from her. Özkara attempts to define Moss as much as possible in her own right, and her essay reflects on the interrelation between space, gender, and body in neoplastic aesthetics. She asks the following questions from a feminist point of view: How can engaging with geometric abstraction reveal that space and gender are related? How can feminist concepts of space disrupt the patriarchal spatial systems? What is the relationship between space and social identities?
In “Revisiting Wim Beeren’s European Utopia: Wanderlieder Thirty Years Later,” Joanna Mardal looks back on Wanderlieder, an exhibition held at the Stedelijk Museum in 1991–1992 and organized by Stedelijk director Wim Beeren. This project brought together artists from Eastern and Western Europe at the end of the Cold War. How did Beeren approach the question of East and West, and to what extent was the exhibition an effective answer to the changing Europe of the early 1990s? Mardal indicates how the exhibition was relevant both in its historical context, two years after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, and now, in times of European crisis and with new Eastern European tensions and increasing right-wing nationalism. Mardal’s article is the first to reflect on Wanderlieder from a twenty-first-century perspective, discussing the exhibition and its contemporary critical reception in the light of more recent literature on post-communism (Groys) and the European Union (Van Middelaar and Judt). It gives a brief analysis of a number of relevant artworks that have not made (Western European/American) art history books and returns to an exhibition that was optimistic about the future of Europe, albeit from a much less hopeful perspective in the year 2021.
Apart from the essays which comprise this eleventh issue of Stedelijk Studies, we decided to add one afterthought and an artistic contribution—submissions which were not part of an exhaustive peer review process but still help to reflect in different ways on the topics and concerns raised by the papers in this issue. The reason to include an addendum in addition to the other content comes from the aforementioned approach that we regard the repositioning of Stedelijk Studies as an ongoing process. These postscripts are therefore not only reflecting back but are also leading to possible future ideas and formats that might constitute upcoming editions of the journal.
The addendum, by Deiara Kouto and Anne Bielig, contemplates the inherent racist structures of cultural institutions and lays out the possibilities of anti-racist curatorial and scientific work in the arts sector. Their study of various methods to do so furthermore provides the context for a very honest presentation of the ambivalences and struggles young artists and scholars of Color must face when it comes to collaborations with cultural institutions and submissions to journals just like this one.
The artist’s contribution by Mariana Lanari, “Reading as Sculpture: A new layer for the library in ruins,” is a report on a project with a more or less clear research objective—the idea that the structure of the connections and networks existing among the Stedelijk Library’s books is made visible by reordering them in its reading room. Her contribution is also a statement or manifesto on the role and importance of libraries, specifically museum libraries. Interwoven with the report are theoretical excursions concerning information technology and related subjects.
by Maurice Rummens
The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam at 125 years
Before giving our contributors the floor, some context on the sources of funding of the old building and the museum’s early collection, and on its exhibition and collection history in the first sixty-five years of its existence, is required to enable a better understanding of the history of the Stedelijk and its position vis-à-vis what came before.
The Stedelijk and the Colonial System
In 1895, the year the newly built Stedelijk Museum opened its doors to the public, the building’s architect, Adriaan Willem Weissman, stated that the weathervane atop the tower overlooking the main entrance, designed in the form of a miniaturized seventeenth-century Dutch ship, “Symbolizes the tremendous contribution of maritime trade to Amsterdam’s prosperity, a success instrumental in creating the circumstances for the foundation of this new temple of art” (fig. 1, 2).
Fig. 1: 17th century ship weathervane atop the tower overlooking the old main entrance of the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. Photo Stedelijk Museum.
Fig. 2: Stedelijk Museum, ca. 1895. Photo Guy de Coral & Co., Amsterdam City Archives.
This was a reference to the seventeenth-century Dutch East and West India Companies (VOC and WIC, respectively) and to the nineteenth-century colonial trading operations of the wealthy Amsterdam entrepreneurs who spearheaded the establishment of the Stedelijk Museum, a joint initiative of the municipal government and private individuals. Colonial trade was a major source of income for wealthy citizens of Amsterdam in the nineteenth century, as it had been in the seventeenth century. Weissman’s statement suggests that the bricks used in building the museum and the early collections displayed to the public were largely paid for with money earned through the extraction of wealth from the territories the Netherlands occupied as colonies, though the observation may not have been intended as criticism.
To commemorate the 125th anniversary of the Stedelijk, the museum invited cultural historian Nancy Jouwe to describe the extent to which the construction of its premises was financed with money earned through the country’s colonial operations. The findings, are likely to apply just as well to the museum’s early collections. The tendrils of colonialism reached so far into every corner of society that it was probably impossible for an entrepreneur to avoid participation. The Stedelijk Museum is therefore connected to the country’s colonial activities through the donations and bequests of wealthy entrepreneurial families whose operations relied on colonial exploitation, and this legacy will forever be a part of its institutional history. The gleaming seventeenth-century warship atop the tower of the old building reflects this part of the museum’s history and functions as a lasting reminder of it. The weathervane dates from about 1661 and was salvaged from one of the chimneys of the former Admiralty building in Amsterdam, which served as a base for the equipment of the war fleets used in defending the commercial interests of the VOC and WIC, including the trade in enslaved people. Trade permits for conducting business with the enemy (Spain and the Spanish Netherlands) and customs duties were also issued at the base. Fabienne Chiang and Oscar Ekkelboom’s essays, in particular, should be read in this context.
The Stedelijk and Modern Art: Bias and Pluriformity
The Stedelijk is often believed to have acquired its reputation as a radical museum of modern and contemporary art and design after the Second World War, a distinction cemented in the 1960s and ’70s. But the museum has always been involved with modern art, right from the start, and its conception of modernism, including during the tenure of Willem Sandberg (1945–1963), was much broader than was often later portrayed. At the same time, however, the Stedelijk’s entire collection and exhibition history is defined by a completely Eurocentric point of view and a marked omission of art and design made anywhere beyond Europe and North America. Thus, both facts in isolation are also one-sided readings of the museum.
The Stedelijk Museum in its early years was home not only to works of visual art, particularly from the nineteenth century, but also to collections of various other kinds, such as a medical-pharmaceutical museum, a militia collection, and a clock museum. Owing to these multiple functions, the museum was given the neutral designation “Stedelijk Museum,” as opposed to something more specific, like the Museum of Modern Art. It is also possible that the latter designation might not even have been considered at the time, as the word “modern” and associated terminology were not as established in the Netherlands as they were in France, the Anglo-Saxon countries, and Germany. It is towards the end of the nineteenth century that the term “modern decorative arts” begins to make an appearance, and the Stedelijk starts to use it in 1911, for instance, in relation to the exhibitions mounted by the Moderne Kunstkring (Modern Art Society), which had been established along the lines of the Salon d’Automne in Paris.
The historiography of art, in which modernism is narrowly conceived as the artists’ search for the essence of their art, purifying its plastic means, has come under fire in recent decades, as is well known. This applies especially to the historical focus on white male creators and to the Eurocentric conception of linear progress, but also to the lack of attention paid to the social determinants of art production. Legitimization of colonialism and systemic racism was the cornerstone of the establishment of many a museum. Artists from beyond Europe and North America who take paths that have nothing to do with “Western” modernism and produce innovations of their own (“global modernisms”), or who relate to “Western” modernism in alternative ways, have been largely ignored in the West for decades, as mentioned above. Not much by these artists is to be found in the Stedelijk’s collection and exhibition history, and what is there has rarely, if ever, been given attention.
The first curators at the Stedelijk—the position of director was not instituted until 1920, for Cornelis Baard, who was initially appointed “head of the museum guards” in 1905—mostly hosted the museum’s temporary exhibitions and managed its permanent collections. These exhibitions and collections often belonged to other organizations. The visual art collection belonged to the Association for the Formation of a Public Collection of Contemporary Art in Amsterdam (VVHK, aka “the association with the long name”), founded in 1874 by banker and businessman Christiaan Pieter van Eeghen and fellow business people in Amsterdam.
Fig. 3: Hat box lid with glued-on reproduction of a drawing of the planned Stedelijk Museum, ca. 1893, with the text: “The New Museum (Museum Suasso)”. Archives Stedelijk Museum, gift of H.F. Roman Jr., Leiden, 1957.
The collection was moved to the Stedelijk in 1895, from the Rijksmuseum. The housing of the collection was one of the reasons for the museum’s foundation, as was housing the collection left by Sophia Adriana Lopez Suasso (fig. 3), who had bequeathed her belongings and assets to the City of Amsterdam on the condition that her extensive collection of jewelry, ornaments, and paintings be displayed to the public in a museum setting. The exhibition of this collection began in 1900, in a separate wing of the building, in period rooms whose interiors were partly distinguished by wood wall paneling, ceiling paintings, and stucco and marble mantelpieces salvaged from seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Amsterdam houses slated for demolition. Critics questioned the artistic value of the collection for decades, but opinions have changed in recent years. The VVHK’s collection, for its part, became the property of the City of Amsterdam following the donation of 217 pieces in 1949, and another 101 pieces in 1962.
In the early years, the VVHK decided what was to be displayed at the museum. Contemporary art, as they saw it, mainly meant older, established nineteenth-century Dutch Romantic paintings and works by artists from the Hague School. They also approved of French Romantic art and works by the Barbizon school of painters. They had no interest in the latest developments in French painting nor in the work of younger Dutch artists, and it was not until 1896 that things slowly began to change, heralded by the acquisition of a work by the young modern painter George Hendrik Breitner. The City of Amsterdam did not, at the time, have a visual art collection of its own. The situation began to be remedied in 1909, following a protest by Baard in response to the VVHK’s conservatism, with a collection developed mainly through donations, bequests, and several long-term loans to the Stedelijk. It would take until 1924 for the Stedelijk, as a municipal museum, to be granted a modest budget for acquisitions.
The VVHK and Suasso’s preferences reflected the more conservative tastes of Amsterdam’s affluent bourgeoisie. But later, in the 1960s and ’70s in particular, the Stedelijk began to be seen as a progressive venue for European and North American modern and contemporary art and design, and its radicalism came into its own in the aftermath of the Second World War, under Willem Sandberg’s directorship. This was a simplistic reading of the museum, given that Sandberg oversaw the exhibition of much besides avant-garde art, and that the Suasso Wing was not dissolved until 1971 (management of the related collection having moved to the Amsterdams Historisch Museum (now the Amsterdam Museum) in 1963. Sandberg believed that the public should encounter all manner of artistic expression at the museum. To this end, he also oversaw the exhibition of more traditional art, such as the somewhat impressionist paintings of the Amsterdamse Joffers, as well as exhibitions on subjects like the art of Japanese paper folding. He also collected and exhibited nineteenth-century art, thereby underscoring the importance of the VVHK collection to the Stedelijk. Profiles of Sandberg, written after Breitner and the Amsterdamse Joffers were no longer considered modern, left out the director’s admiration for these artists, as this would have clashed with the image of the trailblazing museum director who championed the avant-gardes.
Fig. 4: Museum for Asian Art in the garden-room of the Stedelijk Museum. In the foreground, left and right, respectively Hindu-Javanese stonework and a Javanese mask. Fig. from Maandblad voor Beeldende Kunsten, June 1934.
From 1932 to 1952, the Stedelijk housed a Museum for Asian Art, located in what was then the Garden Room (now the Audi Gallery), and for some time in the gallery next to it (fig. 4). This part of the museum was devoted to art objects that were also recognized as such in their countries of origin, as opposed to the utilitarian objects collected by ethnographic museums, and primarily housed works by artists employing centuries-old practices. The collection moved to the Rijksmuseum in 1952, where it remains on permanent display; four years later, Sandberg had a spirit canoe (wuramon) installed in the now-vacated Garden Room, which had recently been converted into a restaurant and museum library (fig. 5).
The canoe, or proa, was the work of the Asmat people of Papua, and was loaned from the Tropenmuseum. The message intended by its installation was that modern art—as in, free expression and abstraction—is universal. The motives of the creators, which in the case of the proa were defined by ritual and the supernatural, were disregarded. This was standard museum practice, whereby objects of art were subject to aesthetic appreciation and the Western gaze, in isolation from the socioeconomic imbalance in the relationship of the West to the birthplaces of such works; relationships characterized by colonialism and its consequences. The proa was returned to the Tropenmuseum in 1971, and with the arrival of a self-service buffet, it was replaced by a much smaller example between 1977 and 1988.
The idea that the Stedelijk only developed its progressive reputation after the Second World War and under Sandberg’s directorship is dispelled by the museum’s exhibition calendar in 1905, the year it mounted the seminal Van Gogh retrospective.
From about 1908 onwards, the Stedelijk began hosting exhibitions of innovative artists’ associations and exposing visitors to the latest trends in visual art, design, and photography through its international shows. These exhibitions presented works that were off the beaten path, not just stylistically but also in their iconography. In 1928, for instance, the museum presented the world’s first portrayal of women’s soccer on canvas, by the Paris-based Mexican artist Angel Zarraga. This was part of an exhibition of artistic expressions of sports staged to mark the occasion of the Summer Olympics in Amsterdam.
Baard’s exhibition policy was both wide-ranging and innovative; his acquisition policy, however, was more conservative, though he did buy a number of works intended to give the collection a more international flavor. Baard was succeeded by David Röell, who, armed with his background in art history and a network of international contacts, oversaw a string of highly successful international exhibitions of modern art between 1935 and 1940. And though funds were limited during what was a period of great economic depression, he still made a number of important acquisitions.
Fig. 5: Ancestral spirit canoe or proa (wuramon), carved and painted by unrecorded artists, Asmat People, Southwest Papua, before 1956, wood, pigment, ca. 1142 x 121 x 128 cm, on loan from the Tropenmuseum, installed in the former restaurant and library of the Stedelijk Museum, seen at the far left of this photograph. Photo: Stedelijk Museum, 1960s.
Twenty-First-Century Challenges for the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art and Design
The Stedelijk is currently reviewing its collection and its exhibition history with the aim to uncover histories previously overlooked by the Western patriarchal gaze. It is a little-known fact, for instance, that the Stedelijk began exhibiting women artists on a regular basis in 1915.
Fig. 6: Ragnhild d’Ailly, no title, 1928, silk batik shawl with hem, 190 x 90 cm, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.
Artists such as Käthe Kollwitz, Agathe Wegerif-Gravestein, Thérèse Schwartze, Marie de Roode-Heijermans, Jacoba van Heemskerck, Ragnhild d’Ailly, Charley Toorop, and Coba Ritsema held solo exhibitions and sold work at the Stedelijk (fig. 6). The museum also hosted women-only group shows, such as one put together in 1933 by the Internationaal Comité voor Schone Kunsten (International Committee of Fine Arts), as well as the international shows staged in the 1950s by De Zeester (The Star-fish), the Amsterdam association of female artists. And, of course, women who were members of non-gender-specific artists’ societies were also shown in exhibitions organized in collaboration with said societies, examples of which included Sint Lucas, De Onafhankelijken (The Independents), and the lesser-known ASB (Architecture, Painting, Sculpture), which was co-founded by a woman, Charley Toorop, and Peter Alma. Kunst aan het Volk (Art to the People), an association that sought to elevate the working class and, to this end, began organizing educational exhibitions at the Stedelijk in 1911, was also led by a woman, artist, and social democrat, Marie de Roode-Heijermans. Gülce Özkara’s essay on a 1953 painting by Marlow Moss in the museum’s collection and the artist’s solo show at the Stedelijk in 1962 sheds further light on these contributions to the demolition of patriarchy within the museum.
The exhibition of female artists and their inclusion in the museum’s collection as a proportion of the total collection remained modest, even more so for artists from countries beyond Europe and North America.
The sixty-two-year period that began with a “Dutch East Indies exhibition” in 1901 and ended at the close of 1963 (the year Edy de Wilde took over the reins from Sandberg) saw about twenty-five exhibitions at the Stedelijk of works by creators with Indonesian or Asian roots, a not inconsiderable amount. But it is also not a surprising amount, however, given the Netherlands’ colonial activities in these regions and the fact that the Stedelijk housed a Museum for Asian Art between 1932 and 1952. At the 1922 International Theater Exhibition, initiated by the theater world and Kunst aan het Volk, masks from Java, Bali, New Guinea, and Cambodia, as well as from Japan and the Congo, were exhibited at the Stedelijk alongside examples from Western theater. Four years later, H. van den Eerenbeemt and architect Bernard Deppe organized the exhibition Marionettes, Puppets, and Masks, following performances of wayang puppet shows by theater practitioners such as Raden S. Hardjodiringgo. This exhibition again presented Asian art in the form of Javanese Wayang figures and Japanese Noh masks and netsuke figures, but also sculptures from the Congo alongside contemporary Western masks. In both cases, the question arises as to the reasons for displaying these pieces at the Stedelijk, pieces which until then had primarily been displayed in ethnographic museums, and whether these reasons included recognition and genuine admiration of their inherent qualities.
Works by modern artists such as Jan Toorop and Frits van Hall, both partly of Indonesian descent, and the Indonesian brothers Agus and Otto Djaya, who depicted the Indonesian struggle for independence, found their way into the collection, but these were notable exceptions. The earliest painting by Toorop in the museum’s possession is a self-portrait from 1884 (fig. 7). Its earliest acquisition of the artist is his portrait of Dr. Hendrik P. N. Muller, consul general of the Orange Free State, which Toorop donated in 1909.
Fig. 7: Jan Toorop, Self-Portrait, 1884, oil on canvas, 58 x 39.5 cm, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, gift of NV Koninklijke Kunstzaal Kleykamp, The Hague, 1931.
Fig 8: Jan Toorop, Old Oaks in Surrey, ca. 1890, oil on canvas, 63.5 x 76.5 cm, gift of the Association for the Formation of a Public Collection of Contemporary Art in Amsterdam (VVHK), 1949.
The offer was initially refused by the VVHK, who disapproved of Toorop’s use of color and the versatility of his style. But the decision met with a press backlash and a campaign by Baard, and the painting was accepted into the collection as property of the City of Amsterdam, thereby marking the start of the municipal collection of modern art. The reversal undoubtedly had to do with the fact that Toorop was seen as one of the most influential modern Dutch artists to have emerged since the turn of the century (fig. 8). Moreover, he was a driving force within avant-garde artists associations such as the Les XX group in Brussels and the Moderne Kunstkring, and a regular at the Domburg artists’ colony. The Djaya brothers, Agus and Otto, donated six works from their exhibition in 1947, held during the Indonesian War of Independence (fig. 9, 10). Sandberg and other left-wing Dutch intellectuals lent their support to a cultural exchange program designed to allow the brothers to gain work experience at the Stedelijk in order to aid cultural development in the new Indonesian republic, as Sandberg described it. That was the main reason, but there was also an ulterior motive for the brothers’ visit, which was to gather as much information as possible for the independence struggle.
Fig. 9: Agus Djaya, Battle, 1944, oil on plywood (three-ply), 120 x 150 cm, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, gift of the artist, 1949.
Fig. 10: Otto Djaya, Pembrontakan (Revolution), 1947, oil and ink on canvas, 45 x 61 cm, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, gift of the artist, 1948.
No purchases were made for the Stedelijk’s collection of anything by the Indonesian painter Rusli, who was appointed head of the art department of the Republic of Indonesia’s Ministry of Defense in 1945 and held a solo exhibition at the Stedelijk in 1955. It is possible that the modernism of his visual language, which could be mistaken for something Western, did not correspond with Sandberg’s presumed conception of artists from outside Europe as operating in unspoiled sanctuaries of authentic creativity.
Fig. 11: Unrecorded artist, Pende People, Congo, mask, date unknown, wood (left); unrecorded artist, Middle Congo, mask, date unknown, wood (right), both former collection Carel van Lier. Figs. from the catalogue of the exhibition devoted to old African sculptures from the Carel van Lier collection, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 1927.
In 1927 the museum mounted an exhibition of Carel van Lier’s collection of African sculptures (fig. 11). Van Lier sold both older Art from African perspectives and European modern art at his gallery in Amsterdam and exhibited them side by side, as was common in the 1920s, particularly in cities like Paris, where Van Lier sourced his African pieces from specialized dealers. This was the first time that the Stedelijk gave prominence to work in this vein, following the International Theater Exhibition in 1922, which included some works by African artists. The Folkwang Museum in Hagen, Germany, and the Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York had preceded the Stedelijk in doing this, in 1912 and 1923, respectively. In 1931 the exhibition Leo Frobenius: South African Rock Drawings introduced the viewing public in Amsterdam to prehistoric rock art from Zimbabwe; or, to be more precise, introduced them to rock art reproductions that the German anthropologist Leo Frobenius had commissioned from artists during his expedition in Zimbabwe three years earlier. In 1957 the Stedelijk shifted its gaze to contemporary art from Central Africa with an exhibition of works from the collection of German art collector, writer, translator, explorer, and ethnographer Rolf Italiaander. The catalogue mainly includes depictions of dancers, animals, hunting scenes, and other stereotypical “African” motifs, and artists are grouped according to where they lived and worked. The category “from both banks of the Congo River” comes with the caveat “Sunday painters”; no other artists are listed with such qualification, and all artists are listed by name. Once again the question arises as to why these exhibitions took place at the Stedelijk and how the artworks were perceived by the organizers and the public. A show of sixty-four contemporary artists from South Africa in 1948–1949, organized by the Suid-Afrikaanse Kunsvereniging (South African Art Association), effectively reflected the apartheid regime due to the fact that there was only one BIPOC participant in this group, Gerard Sekoto, who had become a professional painter after having worked for several years as a teacher.
Fig. 12: Unrecorded artist, Fiji, tapa, tree bark cloth, 169.5 x 228 cm, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.
The Stedelijk’s first showing of artists from Oceania was in the Art of the South Pacific exhibition in 1950. In 1953 and 1955, Sandberg bought two tapas (barkcloths) from Fiji and New Guinea, respectively (fig. 12). They were the only examples of art from Oceania in the early collection. These works were likely shown at the Modern Art New and Old exhibition in 1955, which combined modern European art with ancient art from Africa, Oceania, the Caribbean, Asia, Alaska, and South and Central America. As with the proa in the restaurant, the message once again was that modern art (free expression and abstraction) is universal and timeless.
In 1950 the Stedelijk presented contemporary art from the Caribbean in an exhibition titled 19 Painters from Haiti. Sandberg had selected the paintings for the show when he visited Haiti in 1949, in the company of a general practitioner from Willemstad, Curaçao, named Chris Engels, as part of a trip to North and South America. During the trip, Sandberg also bought paintings by Robert Saint-Brice, Gesner Abelard, Joseph Jacob, and A. Chapelet for inclusion in the collection, paying for them with a loan from Engels, who waived repayment a couple of years later, thereby enabling the museum to list them as donations (fig. 13, 14).
Fig. 13: Robert Saint-Brice, Composition, 1948, oil on cardboard, 49 x 66.5 cm, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, gift of Chris Engels, Willemstad, Curaçao, 1950.
Fig 14: Gesner Abelard, Salle à manger (Dining Room), 1949, oil on cardboard, 49.5 x 38.5 cm, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, gift of Chris Engels, Willemstad, Curaçao, 1950.
Sandberg referred to the works in the 1950 exhibition as “primitive,” by which he likely meant that the artists who produced them were self-taught, natural, unspoiled, artless, uninhibited, and unconcerned with modernism (meaning Western modernism) or the Western tradition of naturalism. Sandberg, along with other fans of modern art and 1950s intellectuals, was also intrigued by the fact that these artists were from a country that had expelled its French colonizers as far back as 1804. And while remaining subject to Western influences, the country had since charted a course that drew just as much from its own Caribbean roots. Sandberg further noted that these painters were held in high esteem in Haiti, and that their paintings served a widely accepted function in society.
In his account of the trip, Haiti’s 1915–1934 occupation by the United States was mentioned only in passing, with the director noting that the occupiers had brought “a lot” to the country, “including priests and teachers.” Among these was the American painter and high school English teacher DeWitt Peters, who had set up an art center in Port-au-Prince in 1944 According to Sandberg, this did not qualify as paternalism, as the Haitian painters were free to choose their subjects. He was so enthused by his “discovery” that he set about turning 19 Painters from Haiti into a traveling exhibition. From Amsterdam, the show traveled to Paris, London, Munich, and Bern, but it was not the unqualified success he had imagined. Art historian Caroline Roodenburg-Schadd has pointed out that Sandberg’s “discovery” must be seen in its proper perspective. Works by these painters had already been the subject of a 1948 essay in Life magazine, and had since been bought and collected in places like Hollywood through DeWitt Peters’s contacts.
The Stedelijk’s exhibition of paintings by Haitian artists was followed in 1953 by Curacao, Painting and Painted, with artists from Curaçao and some others from the Netherlands who, in contrast to the Haitian artists, incorporated clearly modern Western elements in their work. It begs the question as to why Sandberg did not buy a single work by Paulita Cornet, May Henriquez, Charles Corsen, or any of the other Antillean artists in the exhibition. Sandberg did acquire works by Lucila Engels-Boskaljon and her husband Chris Engels, but these were all donations made between 1950 and 1962. In the wake of the 1953 exhibition was the purchase of the painting Curaçao at Night (1954) by the Amsterdam-based Dutch artist Frieda Hunziker, who had been to Curaçao on a travel grant. This was added to the Stedelijk’s collection in 1955 as an acquisition by the City of Amsterdam. It appears Sandberg, operating on the basis of his conception of free expression and originality, found artists from outside Europe and North America who were working in their own traditions more interesting than those that appeared to lean towards Western modernism, and was, as a result, not inclined to buy works by the latter.
The earliest acquisitions of South American art are from 1950. These are two earlier cubist paintings by the Mexican artist Diego Rivera. They had little in common with the massive political murals for which Rivera later became known, but for the Stedelijk, which at the time was still actively seeking cubist work, that later fame as a muralist probably played a role in the acquisition. Both paintings were purchased from the Dutch painter and art dealer Jos Gosschalk. In 1953 the Stedelijk became the first museum in Europe to show contemporary modern art from Argentina, in the exhibition 8 Argentinian Abstracts. The Stedelijk had received a proposal to do so from a group of young artists from Buenos Aires, via a Dutch agency there that had been charged with promoting the Netherlands. The museum purchased lithographs from three of these artists, including Sarah Grilo. Sandberg offered the exhibition to several other European museums, but was unable to arrange its showing elsewhere at short notice.
Fig. 15: Joaquín Torres-García, Forma abstracta con triángulos (Abstract Form with Triangles), 1936, oil on cardboard, 59.5 x 45 cm, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.
In 1956–1957 the Stedelijk presented Young Painters from Uruguay, followed later in 1957 by a solo exhibition of the Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx; Sandberg was also interested in architectural expressions. Graphics from Brazil were shown in 1961, and a solo exhibition by the Uruguayan painter Joaquín Torres-García opened later that same year (fig. 15). It was not until 1963 that Sandberg’s successor, Edy de Wilde, included a purchase from a Surinamese artist in the collection: a monumental abstract painting by Erwin de Vries, who would hold two solo exhibitions at the Stedelijk in the following decades.
The first female artist from a country outside Europe or North America to appear in the collection is the Algerian painter Baya Mahieddine (Fatima Haddad), better known as Baya. The museum owns a few lithographs of hers from 1947, which appeared in the magazine Derrière le miroir, published by Galerie Maeght in Paris (fig. 16).
Fig. 16: Baya (Baya Mahieddine / Fatima Haddad), Exposition Baya (Derrière le miroir, no. 6), 1947, lithography, 38 x 28 cm, published by Galerie Maeght, Paris, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.
Aimé Maeght, who ran the gallery, had been on a visit to Algeria when he was alerted to Baya’s talent by the sculptor Jean Peyrissac, to whom Baya’s foster mother, the Algiers-based French intellectual Marguerite Caminat Benhoura, had handed some of Baya’s work. Maeght, in turn, brought Baya, still in her teens, to the attention of André Breton, leader of the surrealist movement, who included some of the young artist’s work in an exhibition he curated at Galerie Maeght in 1947, under the name Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme. A few months later, Maeght mounted a solo exhibition of Baya’s work, in conjunction with the publication of the edition of Derrière le miroir in which the aforementioned lithographs appeared. Notwithstanding her earlier inclusion in Breton’s exhibition, Baya rejected attempts to label her style “surreal,” “naive,” or “outsider art,” though, many years later, in 1967, she did sign the Aouchem Manifesto (aouchem means “tattoo” in Arabic), drawn up by a group of Algerian artists known as the Aouchem Group, which called for the reunion of the “visual elements invented by the civilizations of the Third World,” with the aim of conveying “the new Algerian reality.”
Fig. 17: Reda Metwalli, Le mûrier (The Mulberry), 1961, tapestry: cotton, wool, 68 x 111 cm, Atelier Art au Village, Egypt, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.
The only other pieces of art from the Arab world to make it into the collection before the 1960s were five tapestries from Egypt (fig. 17). They were made by children from rural areas aged twelve to eighteen and acquired by Sandberg in 1962 after the exhibition Young Egypt Weaves at Museum Fodor, which as a municipal museum also came under Sandberg’s directorship. The tapestries come from a studio set up by the Egyptian architect and educator Ramses Wissa Wassef and his wife Sophie Habib Georgi in the Harrania district of Giza. Their appeal to Sandberg probably had something to do with fact that the children had been encouraged to follow their “natural” instincts.
It begs the question yet again as to why the Stedelijk does not have a single painting, sculpture, or original work on paper by an Arab artist dated any earlier than the 1960s, when history shows that there were Arab artists working in places like Paris in the 1950s and earlier decades. Meanwhile, the collection includes a handful of works by artists born in the Arab world to Western parents.
The occasional mounting of such exhibitions and the acquisition of art originating beyond Europe and North America continued under Sandberg’s successor, Edy de Wilde, and under subsequent directors Wim Beeren, Rudi Fuchs, Gijs van Tuyl, Ann Goldstein, and Beatrix Ruf, sometimes with less frequency and at other times with greater emphasis, as was the case for Latin America under Wim Beeren in the late 1980s, when military dictatorships had disappeared but the army continued to hold sway. Beeren also organized exhibitions on Eastern European art in the early 1990s, thanks to the perestroika reforms in Russia. In her essay on Beeren’s exhibition Wanderlieder: European Artists, Joanna Mardal discusses the political traumas of the participating Eastern European artists.
Generally speaking, Africa, Latin America, and Asia were best reflected in the museum’s Photography Department and poster collection. The former was the first part of the Stedelijk to develop long-term policies on the matter. For instance, in response to photojournalism’s Eurocentric coverage of Africa, it mounted a solo exhibition of work by the Malian photographer Malick Sidibé in 2000–2001. Snap Judgments in 2008 was an arguably even more significant event. Put together by curator and art critic Okwui Enwezor, the exhibition showed how African artists were using photography to respond to the enormous changes taking place in the economic, social, and cultural life of Africa. The works on display broke from the lingering stereotypical images of the various cultures, histories, and countries from which they originated.
While art from beyond Europe and North America amounts to a mere fraction of the entire collection and exhibition history, it nevertheless offers many interesting opportunities for research and the exhibition of the works therein or the historical exhibition documentation alongside other works of (contemporary) art. However, as Yvette Mutumba stresses in this issue’s editorial and Najiba Yasmin argues in her essay on collaboration, collecting and exhibiting alone are not enough.
The current situation at the Stedelijk
The Stedelijk Museum under Rein Wolfs, who took office two years ago, is working wherever possible to make the collection more polyphonic through acquisitions. The exhibition and publication policies around the 20th and 19th century are designed to spotlight “forgotten” histories buried in the collection. To this end, and as part of her PhD research, Curator of Contemporary Art and Public Programs Britte Sloothaak is currently working on a research proposal that aims to bridge art historical thinking and heritage theory with a translocal perspective, in order to understand the Stedelijk’s ties to Indonesia and Dutch colonial interference since 1895 and how the museum’s continuously shifting position towards this history is reflected in the museum collection and exhibition history today. While Curator of Design Amanda Pinatih researches in her PhD-project what museum objects afford for diasporic communities. Their findings will be conveyed through publications and exhibitions. Curator Claire van Els, in collaboration with external experts, is concentrating on the Caribbean to similar ends, while Curator of Photography Vincent van Velsen is focusing on the position of migrants and racialised people in the European context. Members of the Research Department Frank van Lamoen and Robbie Schweiger are now working in partnership with the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven and the University of Amsterdam on a research platform, titled Rakurs. Research topics include recontextualization of the historical Russian avant-garde, and contemporary decolonization processes and activism in the former Soviet Union. The two curators-at-large, Yvette Mutumba and Adam Szymczyk, have also been contributing to the Stedelijk’s process by highlighting “global modernisms” from beyond Western Europe and North America and helping to make the Stedelijk Museum more polyphonic in its operation. The effort to achieve the latter objective is also being aided by the expansion of the curatorial and research teams with Curator of Graphic Design Thomas Castro, Head of Research and Curatorial Practice Charl Landvreugd, and curator of Photography Vincent van Velsen. Much remains to be done on this matter, but a start has at least been made.
Authors Note / Acknowledgements
With many thanks to both the current and former editorial board members, most notably Fieke Konijn and Nathalie Zonnenberg, who worked on an earlier version of this call for papers. Former Editor-in-Chief Sjoukje van der Meulen equally left her mark on the positioning of the questions raised in the call, as well as Charl Landvreugd, the journal’s current head editor.
Yvette Mutumba is co-founder and artistic director of the platform Contemporary And (C&). She is curator-at-large at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam and lecturer at the Institute of Art in Context at the University of Arts, Berlin. Mutumba was part of the curatorial team of the 10th Berlin Biennale (2018) and Guest Professor for Global Discourses at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne (2017-2018). From 2012 to 2016 she was curator at the Weltkulturen Museum in Frankfurt am Main. She holds a PhD in art history from Birkbeck, University of London. In 2020, she and Julia Grosse were awarded “European Cultural Manager of the Year”.
Maurice Rummens is a member of the Research Staff at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. He holds a PhD in art history from the University of Amsterdam and published on modern art in journals including Jong Holland, Kunstschrift, The Burlington Magazine, in publications from the Open University, Heerlen, and the Stedelijk Museum. He was co-curator of the exhibitions Roger Bissière: ‘La cathédrale’, Tapestry (2000), Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Tahiti in the Alps, 1918 – 1928 (2001), The Oasis of Matisse (2015), and curated Chagall, Picasso, Mondrian and Others: Migrant Artists in Paris (2019-’20) at the Stedelijk Museum.
 The ICOM ICOM Kyoto General Conference (September 1–7, 2019) invited its members, committees, partners, and other interested stakeholders to participate in the development of potential alternatives for the museum definition. The current definition, which has only seen minor adjustments over the past few decades, does not reflect and express adequately the complexities of the twenty-first century and the current responsibilities and commitments of museums, nor their challenges and visions for the future. Over 250 proposals were submitted. While those ideas varied significantly, the final “new” definition of what a museum is, should be, or could be is still outstanding. See https://icom.museum/en/news/the-museum-definition-the-backbone-of-icom/.
 Nora Sternfeld, Das radikaldemokratische Museum (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2018), 13–18.
 Alfred Lichtwark, “Museen als Volksbildungsstätten,” in Die Museen als Volksbildungsstätten: Ergebnisse der 12. Konferenz der Centralstelle für Arbeiter-Wohlfahrtseinrichtungen (Berlin: 1904), 6–12, 8, quoted after Sternfeld.
 The “West,” “Western,” or “non-Western” are homogenizing terms and subsume highly heterogeneous and complex societies and cultures within them. However, for the purposes of this text it appeared most intelligible to group Europe and North America together under the notion “West,” since this also defines a specific attitude towards regions outside of that area.
 See also Belinda Kazeem, Charlotte Martniz-Turek, and Nora Sternfeld, eds., Das Unbehagen im Museum: Postkoloniale Theorien, Ausstellungstheorie & Praxis 3 (Vienna: Turia + Kant, 2009).
 Stuart Hall and Sarat Maharaj, “Museums of Modern Art and the End of History,” in Modernity and Difference, Annotations 6, eds. Sarah Campbell, Gilane Tawadros (London: INIVA, 2001), 8–23; Diane Newell, ed., Art and Its Global Histories: A Reader (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2017), 274–282, 281.
 Bénedicte Savoy, Museen: Eine Kindheitserinnerung und die Folgen (Cologne: Greven, 2019), 18, 25.
 Claire Bishop, Radical Museology: Or, What’s “Contemporary” in Museums of Contemporary Art? (Cologne: Walther König, 2014), 6.
 A. W. Weissman, Het Gemeente-museum te Amsterdam: geschiedenis, inrichting en versiering, verlichting (Amsterdam: Scheltema & Holkema, 1895), 46–47.
 J. Bank, Stads mecenaat en lokale overheid: Honderd jaar private en publieke kunstbevordering in Amsterdam 1899–1999 (Amsterdam: Boekmanstichting, 1999); J. Bank, M. van Buuren, M. Braun, 1900: Hoogtij van burgerlijke cultuur (The Hague: Sdu Uitgevers, 2000); Caroline Drieënhuizen, Koloniale collecties, Nederlands aanzien: de Europese elite van Nederlands-Indië belicht door haar verzamelingen, 1811–1957 (diss., University of Amsterdam, 2012); Cordula Rooijendijk, Vrije Jongens: Een geschiedenis van de Nederlandse handel (Amsterdam and Antwerp: Uitgeverij Atlas Contact, 2014), ch. 7.
 The term “modern” is used in this part of the introduction as a general indication of time period and to describe art from all over the world that deviates from the recognizable, standardized styles. The same applies to the term “avant-garde,” which refers not only to the art historical trend, but also to the critical tradition that described and promoted this development. For examples of modernisms originating beyond Europe and North America, see, among others, Elizabeth Harney and Ruth B. Philips, eds., Mapping Modernisms: Art, Indigeneity, Colonialism (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2018).
 A. Don, Van gastheer tot wegbereider: het verzamelbeleid van Cornelis Baard in het Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, 1905–1936 (master’s thesis, University of Amsterdam, 2014).
Hommage aan de Vereniging met de lange naam (Amsterdam: Stedelijk Museum, 1978); F. Breitbarth, Vereeniging tot het Vormen van eene Openbare Verzameling van Hedendaagsche Kunst 1874–1978: een onderzoek naar het netwerk van de bestuursleden van de VVHK in de periode 1874–1909 (master’s thesis, University of Amsterdam, 2002); H. Rison, Voor Amsterdammers, door Amsterdammers: Onderzoek naar het verzamelbeleid van de Vereniging tot het Vormen van eene Openbare Verzameling van Hedendaagse kunst in de periode van 1874 tot 1895 (master’s thesis, Utrecht University, 2017).
 J. van Adrichem, L. Dosi Delfini, “Furniture in the Stedelijk Museum,” in The Furniture Collection Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam: 1850–2000, from Michael Thonet to Marcel Wanders, eds. J. van Adrichem, I. de Roode (Rotterdam and Amsterdam: NAi Publishers, Stedelijk Museum, 2004), 25–88; J. van Adrichem, “The Stedelijk Museum: Home of Modernity,” in Stedelijk Collection Reflections: Reflections on the Collection of the Stedelijk Museum, eds. J. van Adrichem and Adi Martis et al. (Rotterdam and Amsterdam: NAi Publishers, Stedelijk Museum, 2012), 17–40.
 Examples of this revaluation include the exhibitions Rococo: A Riot of Ornament, Rijksmuseum (2001–2002), which included sections of eighteenth-century wooden paneling that had previously lined one of the Stedelijk’s period rooms, and Goud! Horloges en juwelen van Sophia Lopez Suasso, Cromhouthuis, Amsterdam (2017–2018), and Amsterdam Museum (2020–2021). Parts of the period rooms are often on display at the Amsterdam Museum.
 In later years, the Suasso Wing was mainly used for conferences, receptions, and anniversary celebrations. For more information on Sandberg’s collection policy, see C. Roodenburg-Schadd, Expressie en ordening: Het verzamelbeleid van Willem Sandberg voor het Stedelijk Museum, 1945–1962 (Rotterdam and Amsterdam: NAI Uitgevers, Stedelijk Museum, 2004).
 A. Don, Van gastheer tot wegbereider; Van Adrichem, “The Stedelijk Museum: Home of Modernity.”
 Van Adrichem, “The Stedelijk Museum: Home of Modernity.”
 Concerning De Onafhankelijken, see J. Jansen van Galen and H. Schreurs, Site for the Future: A Short History of the Amsterdam Stedelijk Museum, 1895–1995 (Amsterdam: Stedelijk Museum, 1995); A. H. Huussen Jr., DeVereeniging van Beeldende Kunstenaars “De Onafhankelijken” (Haaren: self-published, 2006); K. de Jong, De Onafhankelijken 1919–1929: “Onbevooroordeeld, belangeloos en Onafhankelijk” (master’s thesis, Utrecht University, 2009). Members of the ASB included luminaries such as Piet Mondrian, Bart van der Leck, Carel Willink, John Rädecker, Gerrit Rietveld, and T. J. P. Oud. See C. Blotkamp, “Architectuur Schilderkunst Beeldhouwkunst,”De Witte Raaf, no. 109 (May/June 2004).
 For answers to these questions, see A. Hoekstra-Koopmans, Afrikaanse kunst in Nederlandse kunstmusea (De geschiedenis van de receptie van Afrikaanse kunst in de Nederlandse kunstmusea van 1920 tot 1965) (master’s thesis, Utrecht University, 1993), 13–16.
 K. Winking, “De strijd tegen koloniale machtsaanspraken: Agus Djaya en Otto Djaya in Amsterdam 1947–1950,” Stedelijk Longread, 2018; B. Sloothaak, “Tempo doeloe? Kunstenaars, guerrillastrijders en spijbelaars,” Stedelijk Longread, 2018. Both articles accompanied the exhibition The Djaya Brothers: Revolusi in the Stedelijk, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, 2018.
 Rusli studied art at Visva-Bharati University in Shantiniketan, West Bengal (India). The institution was founded by the renowned poet, writer, composer, philosopher, social reformer, and painter Rabindranath Tagore.
 Hoekstra-Koopmans, Afrikaanse kunst in Nederlandse kunstmusea.
 Roodenburg-Schadd, Expressie en ordening, 375–379.
 The participating artists were Charles Corsen, Paulita Cornet, Chris Engels, Lucilla Engels, Gil Hagedoorn, May Henriquez, Theo Hermelijn, Ru Jas, Th. Pieter Kwiers, Charles Eyck, Dolf Henkes, and Frieda Hunziker. C. J. H. Engels, Curaçao schilderend en geschilderd (Amsterdam: Stedelijk Museum, 1953).
 Alya Al Mulla, Suheyla Takesh, eds., Lasting Impressions: Baya Mahieddine, exh. cat. (Sharjah: Sharjah Art Museum, 2021).