CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Museum Willet-Holthuysen


The house at Herengracht 605, Amsterdam, has been a museum since 1895. It is a historical house museum, bequeathed to the city by Louisa Holthuysen (1825–1895), the widow of Abraham Willet (1824-1888). The childless couple had devoted most of their lives to collecting artworks and applied art objects. Their home boasted a varied collection of antiques including glass, silver, and ceramics, as well as paintings by Dutch and French masters, photographs, and a library. The collection combined with its surroundings – opulent Neo Louis-XVI interiors – to form an integrated whole. The painting collection can be divided into still lifes, landscapes, and genre scenes. Louisa Holthuysen had a preference for paintings by artists who had worked in Oosterbeek and the surroundings, such as Johannes Bilders, Adriana Haanen, and Maria Vos. Besides the library, with its major publications on decorative or applied art, the large glass collection is of particular significance. This consists primarily of Venetian glass and “façon de Venise” imitations, many of which are Dutch. Most of these pieces originate from the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, but the collection also includes historicizing glass objects from the nineteenth century.

Thijs Boers, Curator (February 2023)

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