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Helene Kröller-Müller

(1869—1939)


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Dutch collector and patron. She was born Helene Müller, the daughter of a shipper, and married the businessman Anton Kröller in 1888. Originally she collected delftware, but after meeting the critic H. P. Bremmer (1871–1956) in 1906, she turned her attention to modern art dating from about 1870 onwards. Bremmer remained her adviser for the rest of her life. The heart of her collection is a superb representation of paintings and drawings by van Gogh. The Dutch government built a museum at Otterlo to house the collection in return for its bequest to the nation; designed by Henry van de Velde, the museum—officially known as the Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller—opened to the public in 1938, although it was not finished until 1954. The building is regarded as one of the finest pieces of museum architecture of the 20th century and is attractively set in wooded country. Helene Kröller acted as director until her death. Apart from van Gogh, the Dutch artists in whose work it is strong include Bart van der Leck (who received regular financial support from the founder), Mondrian (up to about 1920—Kröller did not care for pure abstract art), and the Symbolists Thorn Prikker and Jan Toorop. Otherwise, French art is best represented, especially Cubism. There are also examples of non-Western art. Acquisitions have been made since the founder's death; in particular, a sculpture garden was created in the 1960s, featuring work by Hepworth, Maillol, Moore, Rodin, Serra, and other eminent artists.

From A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Art.


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