Past exhibition
19 December 2021 to 19 June 2022

Discovering Modernity

Picasso, Dalí, Mondriaan, Klee, Miró, Léger, Daniëls

From Joan Miró to Marlene Dumas. In the exhibition Discovering Modernity you will time-travel through the history of Western art. The artworks come from a private collection that is exceptional for the Netherlands. Together, they form a unique collection of almost all the major art movements of the 20th century. From modern masters such as Constantin Brancusi, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, and Tamara de Lempicka, to such leading contemporary artists as Anish Kapoor, Olafur Eliasson, and Marlene Dumas. Each one of them is a groundbreaking modernist without whom the art of today would never have been possible. Hence the title: Discovering Modernity.


It's not just museums that constantly add to their permanent collections; private collectors also elevate collecting to an art. Often, private collections are amassed around a specific interest. The art lies in making sure that the collection as a whole is cohesive. Discovering Modernity is a selection of 100 artworks from a diverse yet perfectly balanced private collection. These are masterpieces that would not be out of place in an international museum!

"A stunning collection that is unrivalled in the Netherlands."

— Wim Pijbes, former director of the Rijksmuseum
Constantin Brancusi, Portrait d'une Femme, ca. 1918. Photo Peter Cox. Private collection, Succession Brancusi, All Rights Reserved (ADAGP), c/o Pictoright Amsterdam 2022
Joan Miró, Peinture-Bleu, 1927. Photo Peter Cox. Private collection © Successió Miró, c/o Pictoright Amsterdam, 2022
Fernand Léger, Le Clown, 1918. Photo Peter Cox. Private collection, c/o Pictoright Amsterdam 2022


The 20th century ushers in a period of accelerating change for society, technology, and art. Artists rebel against the established order: they experiment, seek new forms, and a succession of new art movements emerge.

With Pablo Picasso, Fernand Léger, and Piet Mondriaan at the helm, abstract art emerges in Cubism, Futurism, and De Stijl. Salvador Dalí, René Magritte, and Joan Miró abandon reason and logic in Surrealism, while artists such as Constant Brancusi and Amadeo Modigliani seek to reduce their art to the essence. In the 50s and 60s, ZERO artists react to their predecessors by championing radical reform.

Art as a reaction today

Even today, we can see how world-renowned artists such as Olafur Eliasson and Anish Kapoor are reacting through their work to themselves and to the society around them. In his essay in the exhibition catalogue, art journalist Edo Dijksterhuis aptly writes: 'Modernism forged the present.' Without the work of groundbreaking modernists of the 20th century, there would be no Western art today.

Made possible thanks to

Discovering Modernity is a collaboration with Singer Laren, where the exhibition was first displayed in a different form. Plus, thanks to a continuous loan of the entire art collection of the JK Art Foundation, visitors will able to admire the collection at Het Noordbrabants Museum in various forms in the future. We are extremely grateful to the JK Art Foundation!

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