The Singer Laren museum has been given the private art collection built up by Jaap Blokker and his wife Els, the museum has announced on its website.
The gift, which comprises over a hundred Dutch avant-garde artists from around 1900, includes the financial resources to build a new wing to house the collection.
Blokker headed the retail chain of the same name until 2010 and died a year later. The decision to turn the collection over to the museum was made by his widow Els Blokker-Verwer.
The collection, with an estimated value of some tens of millions of euros, is built around forty works by Jan Sluijters, who was the couple’s favourite painter. Also part of the collection are paintings by Leo van Gestel and Jan Toorop.
It is the second time in a short period that the privately financed museum has been given a major art collection. Two and a half years ago collector Renée Smitshuis gave the museum a large number of Dutch expressionist paintings.
In a video message on the museum’s website Els Blokker said it was never the couple’s intention to create a collection. ‘We had the opportunity to buy works and that is how it grew,’ she said.
Blokker said it would be ‘a bit selfish’ to keep the collection to herself. ‘Those paintings belonged to other people and now I’m giving others a chance to enjoy them as well.’
The new wing will be ready in 2020.
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