From Italy with love — Teylers Museum

From Italy with love

Pastel drawings of Martin Monnickendam

Jun 24, 2016 to Oct 09, 2016

Imagine Venice under a blue sky and crispy like an early morning in May. This is how Martin Monnickendam mostly portrayed his beloved Italy. The artist travelled the entire country from Genoa to Palermo and he drew everything he saw along the way. Quite extraordinary when imagining that in the 1920s and 1930s, mass of tourism wasn't known in Italy yet. Just imagine! At that time you'd have the Trevi Fountain in Rome all to yourself. The artworks of Monnickendam are so vivid, full of color and lifelike, you'd instantly wish to visit the same places he did.

Success and oblivion

The work of Martin Monnickendam (1874-1943) is characterized with a light touch and bright colors. He has therefore been described as an artist between impressionism and expressionism. During his lifetime Monnickendam was a known and loved artist who won several awards, also internationally. To celebrate this fiftieth birthday an exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam was organised. The fact that nowadays he's less well known, has to do with the success of abstract expressionism art, which became popular after the Second World War. Because of this, many older, figurative artists fell into oblivion. An undeserved position as artists such as Monnickendam beautifully represent the diversity of Dutch art in the first half of the twentieth century.


Teylers Museum is able to share these great pastels with you thanks to the foundation Friends of the painter Martin Monnickendam. This foundation (founded in 1973), manages the estate of the artist and makes sure his works are regularly on show. When Monnickendam's two daughters cried for help to Amsterdam based notary Ruud van Helden, he set himself the task to save Monnickendam's collection. Since that day, Ruud van Helden works as secretary for the foundation in which he makes an effort for restauration, research and publications of Monnickendam's art. Van Helden also aims at putting up the works in collections of  museums. In 2009 he donated works to various museums in Amsterdam. Today, more than seven years later, Teylers Museum fell the honour of selecting more than thirty drawings and one painting. The majority of the chosen works are suberb pastels of Italy. This can be regarded as an enrichment of the close connection to Italy that is already present in our collection. Therefore, Monnickendam's works are all in place with us. 

From June 24th onwards, the sparkling pastels (chalk drawings) of Martin Monnickendam are on show in the Print Room of Teylers Museum.