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"Four Generations: A Century of the Toorop-Fernhout Family"
2001-10-19 until 2002-02-03
Centraal Museum
Utrecht, , NL

No family of artists has played a more important role in Dutch art than that of Toorop-Fernhout. Between them, Jan and Charley Toorop, Edgar and John Fernhout, and Rik Fernhout cover a period of more than a century. This is a unique phenomenon in Dutch art history and one reason for the Centraal Museum devoting an exhibition to them. In doing so the Centraal Museum is also associating itself with a tradition.

Previous exhibitions have been held with the three generations as their subject - in 1937, 1954, 1956-57 and 1971-72. The Centraal Museum intends however to expand the concept by including a fourth generation in the person of the painter Rik Fernhout, son of Edgar Fernhout. It also plans to include the films of John Fernhout, with the idea that film too is a visual art form. The Centraal Museum is therefore offering its public a contemporary art- historical survey of a remarkable family of Dutch artists. The artists will be generously represented with a selection of their best work. Central figures in the show are Jan Toorop, Charley Toorop and Edgar Fernhout, with roughly 30 major works each. The work of the film director John Fernhout will also get extensive coverage. The exhibition will open with his film about his family, De drie generaties and a nonstop showing of his films will be held in the adjacent auditorium. A selection of the paintings of Rik Fernhout will form an annex to the exhibition - this is his debut for a more general public.

In between the generous presentations of the separate artists there will be some comparative ones - heads of working-class people by Jan will hang side-by side with those of Charley; Charleys still lifes will be accompanied by those of Edgars and a connection is planned between Edgars abstract light paintings and the pointillist landscapes of his grandfather, Jan.

Documentation of the artists in the form of photographs from family albums, correspondence, catalogues and films will enable viewers to trace the family connections and to appreciate the place this family occupies in Dutch art history.

The Centraal Museum has been making preparations for this exhibition for some years already, enlisting the support of all the major museum collections with relevant work. The exhibition will be accompanied by a lavish catalogue with texts by specialists, highlighting a selection of the works. It will include a visual narrative of the history of the family as well as biographies of its individual members and an essay describing the importance of this family for the Dutch art world. In her capacity as curator of modern art at the Centraal Museum Marja Bosma is in charge of the project and she will also be editor-in-chief of the catalogue. She is currently working on a PhD thesis and a publication about Charley Toorop.


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