Pure luxury on paper

Pure luxury on paper
8 May-9 July 2012

Yanagawa Shigenobu
From 8 May, the Rijksmuseum will be exhibiting a selection of 30 works from two new donations of Japanese prints. Luxury, subtlety, technical perfection, expressiveness and, of course, beautiful Japanese women all feature prominently in these new collections, recently donated by two leading collectors.

Jan Willem Goslings (1943-2011) and his wife brought together an extraordinary collection of surimono prints. Printed on expensive paper with luxurious decorations in gold and silver, these prints were traditionally given as exclusive gifts to a select group of friends and relations, on special occasions such as the Japanese New Year. The Goslings were attracted to the prints by their technical perfection and fascination with ‘an unfathomable world of subtlety and external beauty’. They have donated their collection of almost 400 pieces to the Rijksmuseum, along with a generous fund to ensure the collection’s future expansion, the Goslings NieuwBeerta Fonds, a Rijksmuseum named fund. The acquisitions presentation showcases the highlights of their donation.

Collector H.C. Bos (1926-2007) had a penchant for classical depictions of luxuriously dressed Japanese women from the late 19th century. He also brought together a stunning collection of actors, portrayed on paper in characteristic poses and with vivid facial expressions. Clear colours and powerful compositions, many appearing remarkably freshly printed, set the tone. On his death, Mr Bos bequeathed 180 Japanese prints to the Rijksmuseum.

Menno Fitski, conservator of Asian Art: ‘I am especially pleased with these substantial donations, which truly enhance the collection. The Goslings donation in particular will make the Rijkmuseum’s surimono collection one of the foremost worldwide’.