Boijmans collection brings explosion of light to Fries Museum

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen and Fries Museum are collaborating to place work of the impressionistic world elite in a new daylight. Famous faces such as Cézanne and Renoir and rediscovered treasures by Rousseau and Wytsman from the Rotterdam collection will shine for this one occasion in Leeuwarden.

Favicon for Press kit: Boijmans collection in the Fries Museum | Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen Newsroom

Together with the Fries Museum, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is organising a major exhibition about the influence of the French light in nineteenth-century painting. The exhibition 'À la campagne: the French light from Maris to Monet' can be seen in the Fries Museum in Leeuwarden from 19 February. The exhibition makes a journey along the artistic development of this 'French view' of the landscape - from the Barbizon school to (post) impressionism. The renovation of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen provides a unique opportunity for the collection of impressionists - which indisputably belongs to the world top - to make a once-in-a lifetime trip. The exhibition features more than 90 paintings and works on paper, some of which have been specially restored in the brand-new depot. On show are leading French artists such as Daubigny, Rousseau, Millet, Sisley, Cézanne, Pissarro and Renoir, Belgian painters such as Van Rysselberghe and Wytsman and prominent Dutch artists such as Van Gogh, Thorn Prikker and Toorop, and the much-loved work of the Hague School painters.

What started as a conversation between the Fries Museum and Boijmans about placing the treasures of the Rotterdam collection in the sunlight elsewhere, has now emerged as a wonderful exhibition in Leeuwarden. By presenting our own works in a different museum, and thus also looking at these from a different perspective, you get to know these works afresh. We are delighted that this fertile partnership with the team in Friesland can now be seen - perfect timing, with spring just around the corner. Sjarel Ex and Ina Klassen, management of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

The yearning for nature: À la campagne

Never before has the longing for nature been as great as it is today, after all the restrictions and lockdowns of the last two years. But it is exactly this desire to be surrounded by nature that has been immortalised by many artists throughout the centuries. The real nature was captured by the artist in the light of the moment: emerging and spreading, soft and warm, grey and depressing, shining and then diminishing light. From the Barbizon School to the (post) impressionism, it was the French artists who, during the 19th century, played a leading role. ‘À la campagne’ shows the important role of light in the art of the 19th century; sunbeams sparkle on the water, the light is filtered through leaves and the wind dances across the canvas. Spread over six halls, paintings, drawings and prints of landscapes, orchards, hills and coasts, gardens and field display this enormous affection for nature.

When making ‘À la campagne’, I spent hours with Marlies Stoter, curator of the Fries Museum, poring through the collection of nineteenth-century landscape paintings and works on paper stored here in the depot. Many familiar works came to light, but there were also surprising finds, such as a beautiful luminist painting by Rodolphe Wytsman. Public favourites and rediscovered treasure, such as several seldom exhibited drawings and prints, were retrieved from the new museum deport, carefully cleaned and restored to allow them to shine in all their glory in Leeuwarden. Sandra Kisters, head of Collection and Research at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen


From 19 February, a podcast with background to the exhibition is available via the Fries Museum. In this podcast, radio and television presenter Andrea van Pol talks with enthusiasts and experts about their love for the outdoor life. Van Pol visited Rotterdam, where the works for ‘À la campagne’ were being carefully packed in the brand-new Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen. She also hiked across the Hoge Veluwe, where forester Henk Ruseler explained the fascination in nature felt by people in general and art-lovers in particular. In the free audio tour accompanying the exhibition, journalist, publicist and TV presenter Philip Freriks gives a poetic twist to ‘À la campagne’. Poems by writers such as Victor Hugo, Rutger Kopland, Abdelkader Benali and Remco Campert provide a backdrop to a dozen works.

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