Surrealist masterpieces in a surreal time

The Cobra Museum Presents: This is Surrealism! The Boijmans Masterpieces 1 June - 17 September 2020: all summer, seven days a week

From 1 June, forty masterpieces from Boijmans' surrealist art collection will be exhibited in the Cobra Museum in Amstelveen before going on a world tour. An exceptional collaboration that, in this strange reality, results in a memorable encounter with Dalí, Magritte, Man Ray and Agar.

Favicon for Download high res images

Exquisite and illustrative, on the first of June 2020, This is Surrealism! The Boijmans Masterpieces opens at the Cobra Museum of Modern Art in Amstelveen. This is a far-reaching collaboration with Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, which is lending out its works of art to museums at home and abroad during its own closure for renovation. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen has a world-class surrealist art collection that is unique in the Netherlands, and because of the coronavirus, the top forty artworks from this collection are presented with as much space between them as possible. The exhibition in Amstelveen can be seen until the 27th of September, and after that it will go on a world tour in a modified form, starting at the Te Papa Tongarewa museum in New Zealand. 

Interim director Stefan van Raay of the Cobra Museum: "We are proud that the Cobra Museum in Amstelveen will be able to show various world-renowned surrealist masterpieces from the Boijmans collection over the next four months. A wonderful example of vital collaboration between fellow Dutch museums in this challenging period."

Director of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Sjarel Ex: "We are very pleased that, despite the corona-pandemic, we managed, with great enthusiasm and effort, to put together a special exhibition where visitors of the Cobra Museum can get acquainted with our outstanding surrealist art collection from Rotterdam and the rest of the world."

Selection of exemplary artworks

After the closure of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen almost a year ago because of a major renovation and renewal, the doors of the Cobra Museum closed last March because of Covid-19. Despite the new measures and the absence of an international audience in the Amsterdam region, we have once again joined forces to still realise This is Surrealism! for the Dutch public, in adapted form. Forty renowned and iconic works of art have been selected that together answer the question: what is surrealism?

Nine themes

Qu’est-ce que le surréalisme? This is Surrealism! In 1934 André Breton, leader of the Paris surrealists, published a lecture he had given earlier that year, entitled Qu'est-ce que le surréalisme? (What is surrealism?). A historical edition, with a famous illustration by René Magritte on the cover is part of this exhibition. This is Surrealism! addresses this central question via key works by Salvador Dali, René Magritte, André Breton, Man Ray, Eileen Agar, Max Ernst and other artists divided into nine themes. Furthermore, very recent acquisitions will be shown for the first time, such as a copy of the first surrealist manifesto by André Breton from 1924, the painting Again, the Gemini are in the Orchard by Leonora Carrington from 1947 and collages by Joseph Cornell from the 1930s acquired at the last edition of TEFAF Maastricht. 

Surrealism and Cobra

Simultaneously with the exhibition This is Surrealism! you can see the presentation Surrealism and Cobraon the ground floor of the Cobra Museum. The Cobra movement sprang directly from surrealism when a number of artists including Appel, Jorn and Constant left a surrealist manifestation in 1948 disappointed, and decided that a new and less politically driven art movement was called for: Cobra. Works from the collection of the Cobra Museum, supplemented with some loans, illustrate the influences and similarities, but also the contradictions and differences between surrealism and the Cobra movement.

Visiting the museum in times of corona:

The exhibition This is Surrealism! The Boijmans Masterpieces can be seen seven days a week from 1 June to 27 September. An audio tour has been made by contemporary surrealist Aynouk Tan. Guides from both the Cobra Museum and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen are available to provide further information about the works of art. For the sake of safety, walking routes are indicated via a sophisticated dot pattern. Entrance tickets have to be purchased online in advance via the Cobra Museum website.

Note for the editors: For more information about the exhibition, press preview and the opening, please contact Eric Wie of the Cobra museum: 020-5475052 or via

For more information about Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen and the surrealism world tour, please contact Sharon Cohen: 010-11886879 or via

For press requests please contact: Rhiannon Pickles at Pickles PR | +31 (0)615 821 202


About Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

The world-renowned art collection of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen has over the span of 170 years expanded to more than 151,000 artefacts, which includes some 63,000 paintings, photos, films, pre-industrial design and design objects, contemporary art installations and sculptures, as well as 88,000 prints and drawings.

Contact details

Related topics

Receive Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen news on your RSS reader.

Or subscribe through Atom URL manually