CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Vier generaties: een eeuw lang de kunstenaarsfamilie Toorop/Fernhout

Four generations: a century in the lives of the artist family Toorop/Fernhout Exhibition: 20 October 2001 - 24 February 2002

Work by the Dutch dynasty of artists Jan Toorop, Charley Toorop, Edgar and John Fernhout and Rik Fernhout. Families arriving at the museum with members of four generations are admitted free of charge; three generations get 50% discount. (Prolonged from Jan 29).

From the museum website, 26 March 2009

No family of artists has played as central a role in Dutch art as the Toorop / Fernhout family. Together, Jan Toorop, Charley Toorop, Edgar Fernhout, John Fernhout and Rik Fernhout span an entire century. It is a unique phenomenon in the history of Dutch art.

This exhibition covers many of the key developments in Dutch art of the last century. Jan Toorop (1858-1928) is recognised as having been a major innovator, not least for introducing Neo-impressionism and Symbolism to the Netherlands. His daughter Charley Toorop (1891-1955) made her name in the 1930s with her own brand of expressive Realism. The meticulous style of her eldest son Edgar Fernhout (1912-1974) developed from precise realism to completely abstract art. His brother John Fernhout (1913-1986) worked in a different field: together with his mentor Joris Ivens he ranks as one of the pioneers of the Dutch cinema. The fourth generation of this remarkable family of artists is represented by the painter Rik Fernhout (b. 1959), Edgar’s son.

Four Generations presents a broad selection of the best of Jan Toorop, Charley Toorop and Edgar Fernhout. Over thirty major works by each artist have been chosen. Many of the exhibits have been made available by private collectors in the Netherlands and abroad, and have not been seen in public in this country for decades, some never at all. John Fernhout’s oeuvre is also featured extensively in a continuous programme of films, while the show also focuses on his photography. The painter Rik Fernhout has selected some of his latest work for the exhibition. This presentation in Four Generations is his first show for a national audience. The portrayal of this artistic family is completed with a documentary display of family albums, letters and other original documents.

This major Centraal Museum exhibition forms part of a family tradition. Previous shows – with three generations as their theme – were held in 1937, 1954, 1956-57 and 1971-72. In this exhibition the Centraal Museum has added a new dimension by introducing the fourth generation: the painter Rik Fernhout, Edgar’s son. In addition, the cinematic oeuvre of John Fernhout is featured, since film can also be reckoned among the visual arts. The show provides a contemporary portrait of a remarkable family of artists in the Netherlands.

To accompany the exhibition the museum offers an extensive, richly illustrated catalogue. It tells the story of the family, narrated by Meta Knol and embellished with photos from family albums and archives. Experts Gerard van Wezel, Marja Bosma, Mieke Rijnders, Dick Adelaar and Bastiaan van der Velden comment on the principal works displayed in the exhibition in brief discussions. Curator Marja Bosma directed the compilation of the exhibition and the catalogue; she is currently completing her PhD research and a publication on Charley Toorop.

KidsCentraal, the children’s museum, features an exhibition on Family Secrets – revealing domestic mysteries for children between 6 and 12. On display from 1 October 2001.


Vier generaties: een eeuw lang de kunstenaarsfamilie Toorop/Fernhout
Marja Bosma, with contributions by Gerard van Wezel, Mieke Rijnders, Dick Adelaar and Bastiaan van der Velden
Catalogue of an exhibition held in 2001-02 in Utrecht (Centraal Museum)
166 pp.
Utrecht (Centraal Museum) 2001
ISBN 90-73285-85-2