Visit Holland - The Netherlands

Van Abbemuseum - Eindhoven

Van Abbemuseum is a museum of modern and contemporary art located in central Eindhoven, Netherlands, on the east bank of the Dommel river.

Established in 1936, the Abbe Museum is named after its founder, Henri van Abbe. Van Abbe was a lover of modern art and wanted to enjoy it there from Eindhoven. As of 2010, the collection of the museum houses more than 2700 works of art, of which about 1000 are on paper, are 700 paintings, and 1000 are sculptures, installations and video work.

With an area of 9,825 m2, monument number 507030, the museum holds one of the largest collections of paintings in the world by El Lissitzky. It also has works by Pablo Picasso and Wassily Kandinsky.

The museum's original collection was bought by Eindhoven City Council in 1934 in an agreement with the private collector and local cigar manufacturer, Henri van Abbe. In return for buying some of his collection, the Van Abbe factory paid for and donated the museum building to house the collection which opened in 1936. The city had architect Alexander Kropholler design a building which is a symmetrical suite of galleries in a relatively traditional style. The collection contained works by Jan Sluijters, Carel Willink and Isaac Israëls amongst others, mostly Dutch and Belgian contemporary works. The museum also bought other artworks from Henri van Abbe before his death in 1940.

As the building had become far too small for modern demands, a new extension to the building, including a 27 metre high tower, was designed by Abel Cahen; it was inaugurated in 2003 by Queen Beatrix.

More recent acquisitions include pieces by Pablo Picasso, Wassily Kandinsky and Piet Mondrian. The museum is also internationally renowned for having one of the largest collections of works by El Lissitzky.

The Van Abbemuseum also houses the collection of posters made by the Situationist Jacqueline de Jong in Paris during May 1968.

The collection developed most under the diretorships of Edy de Wilde and Rudi Fuchs. While De Wilde bought the classical modernist works by Picasso etc., Fuchs bought his own generation in particular conceptual work from the USA and German painting. The recent Director, Charles Esche has pursued a more geographically diverse collecting policy concentrating on work from central and eastern Europe including Nedko Solakov, Mladen Stilinovic, Wilhelm Sasnal, Artur Zmijewski as well as video works by Israeli artist Yael Bartana.

Van Abbe Museum