The art historian and print expert François Gérard Waller (1867-1934) is one of the Rijksmuseum’s greatest benefactors. During his life he donated to the museum his extensive collections of decorated papers, ex libris prints and catchpenny prints; and at his death he bequeathed a veritable treasure trove of paintings, drawings and prints. His most important gift, however, is the fund that bears his name: a resource that enables the Rijksmuseum to purchase hundreds of prints each year. An exhibition of the most exceptional of these acquisitions from the last ten years in two galleries on the ground floor of the museum’s Phillips Wing.
This exhibition includes highlights from early printmaking includes Madonna with Child (ca. 1470) by Master I.A.M. of Zwolle and Crucifixion with Four Angels (ca. 1485) by Martin Schongauer – Waller allocated much of his wealth to the acquisition of prints from this period. Italian, Dutch, German, and French masterpieces from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century will also be on display. They include two drawings: a 1599 design sketch by Karel van Mander and a landscape by Claes van Beresteyn, from 1670. Both drawings were part of the Van Regteren Altena collection, and they were purchased with the support of the Rembrandt Association and the F.G. Waller Fund.
Waller specified that his fund could be used ‘in exceptional cases’ for the acquisition of drawings. The exhibition also includes modern works, such as the results of experiments with a variety of printing techniques conducted in 1870 by Ludovic-Napoléon Lepic, mentor to Edgar Degas, and a 1924 print by Hendrik Werkman.
Since 1938 the F.G. Waller Fund has annually disbursed a sum that is used to further enhance and complement the collections of the Rijksmuseum’s Print Room. Thus far, the Rijksmuseum has Wallers’ generosity to thank for the addition of 55,000 works to its collection.
The exhibition is curated by Erik Hinterding, Huigen Leeflang, Manon van der Mullen.