See the sea in the Rijksmuseum

May 2 2017 - 4:06 PM Presentation

The Rijksmuseum has received a generous donation of more than 35 photographic seascapes from a private collector. This genre is completely new to the Rijksmuseum's extensive photo collection. The donation includes surprising works of mainly contemporary international photographers such as Viviane Sassen, Chip Hooper, Franco Fontana, Jo Ractliffe, Chris McCaw and Simon van Til. From 17 June through 17 September 2017, a selection of thirteen works is on display in the 'Sea Views' exhibition in the Philips Wing of the Rijksmuseum.

Generous donation of photographic seascapes

Poetic collection

The collection of seascapes has been assembled with care, attention and love by a private collector over a period of 10 years. Each piece is an intensive exercise, with the playful use of air, light and tide. The photos reveal the influence of the photographer and the richness of photographic print. The resulting works are very diverse. In some works the sea is black, in others azure. Some of the works are monumental, others small and intimate. Sea Views shows thirteen photographs of seascapes. In addition, an accompanying film by Jochem van Laarhoven will be screened.

The seascape

The Netherlands and the sea is a popular theme in the Rijksmuseum. In the 17th century, Willem van de Velde drew the coastline of Kijkduin and Terheijden in huge and meticulous ink drawings. In the late 19th century, Jan Toorop was completely entranced by the undulating movement of the sea at the coast of Katwijk. For the first time photographic seascapes are added to the collection of the Rijksmuseum.

Rijksmuseum photography collection

The Rijksmuseum wants to show its visitors international photography in all its diversity. Therefore, with the generous support of its partner Baker McKenzie, as well as a great number of private and institutional benefactors, the Rijksmuseum collects both Dutch and international photography. In qualitative and quantitative terms, it has built up a strong, extensive and diverse collection over the years.

New Realities. Photography in the 19th century

Simultaneously with Sea Views, a large retrospective devoted to 19th-century photography is on show in the Philips Wing. Three hundred photographs from the museum’s own collection give a picture of how varied photography was immediately after its invention in 1839. Prominent photographers such as William Henry Fox Talbot, George Hendrik Breitner, Willem Witsen and Gustave Le Gray appear side by side with anonymous photographers who have not been exhibited before.


Zee bij Milos, Viviane Sassen, 2013. Private gift
Emerging, Submerging, Emerging, Antrim County, Noord-Ierland, Thomas Joshua Cooper, 1986. Private gift
Seascape Mar Ligure, Franco Fontana, 2005. Private gift
Surf, Tasman Sea New Zealand, Chip Hooper, 2005. Private gift

all images