The Groninger Museum on the Verbindingskanaal
New building: 1994
Ceramic of Asia
|Public transit access||Central station, Groningen|
Although not as well known as other Dutch institutions of fine art, the Groninger Museum was founded in 1894. The opening of its new building in 1994 caused a sensation and it has since established a reputation of being among the finest museums in the nation.
The radically modernist structures forming the Groninger Museum stand in a canal opposite a railway station consist of three main pavilions: a silver cylindrical building designed by Philippe Starck, a yellow tower by Alessandro Mendini, and a pale blue deconstructivist space by Coop Himmelb(l)au. A bridge that connects the museum to the train station is part of a cycling and walking path to the central city.
The architecture's futuristic and colourful style echos the Italian designs of the Memphis Group. Mendini, a former member of the firm who is noted for his furniture and industrial designs, was asked by museum director Frans Haks in 1990 to design the new museum. Haks wanted something extravagant and insisted on non-architects to create the conceptual studies. American artist Frank Stella was originally approached to design one of the pavilions, however, his plan turned-out to be too expensive because he wanted his structure completely built out of Teflon. The municipality then invited Coop Himmelb(l)au to replace him for the commission.
The museum was mainly paid for by Gasunie, the Dutch national natural gas utility. The company was celebrating its 25th anniversary and wanted to give the city of Groningen a present. Haks, wanting to move out his of the old and insufficient exhibition space, suggested a new museum building. Gasunie agreed to Hak's proposal and granted 25 million guilders for the project.
Alderman Ypke Gietema, a strong proponent of the new museum, was responsible for siting the museum at its present location despite acrimonious objections. During site preparation, protesters managed to halt construction in high court for one year. Citizen's objections centered on the controversial design, fearing their homes would not sell with such a peculiar and eccentric structure nearby. Despite controversy, building resumed in 1992 and it was completed in 1994. Local residents had to get used to the shapes and colours of the building, but it soon became a popular success.
The Groninger Museum is the home to various expositions of local, national, and international works of art, most of them modern and abstract. Some have provoked controversy, like the photo exhibition of Andres Serrano, but others are more main stream, such as the exhibition of the works by Ilya Repin, the "Russian Rembrandt".
- The Unknown Russia
- Me, myself and I by Chi Peng
- Silver in Groningen
- The Firebird by Othilia Verdurmen
- Highlights From The Museum Collection
- Now in the former Groninger Museum - 100 years of collecting (1894–1994)
- Bernhard Willhelm & Jutta Kraus
- Brücke, German Expressionism (1905–1913)
- Folkert de Jong
- Asian Ceramics
- Cuba: Art and History from 1868 to the Present
- From Herman Collenius to Jeff Koons, courtesy of the Vereniging Rembrandt
- J.W. Waterhouse (1849–1917), the Modern Pre-Raphaelite
- Russian Legends, Folk Tales and Fairy Tales
- The circle around Kirchner. Expressionismus aus den Bergen
- Ancient Bronzes: Masterpieces from the Shanghai Museum
- Go China! Assen - Groningen
- Akseli Gallen-Kallela (1865–1931), the Spirit of Finland
- P. Struycken, Digital Paradise
- Marc Quinn, Recent Sculpture
- History of the museum building - Groninger Museum
- Philippe Starck, Starck pavilion - Groninger Museum
- Coop Himmelb(l)au Coop Himmelb(l)au pavilion - Groninger Museum
- Groninger Museum's second life - A design report from Groningen by Alessandro Mendini
- Me, Myself and I, Chi Peng - Groninger Museum
- The Firebird - Groninger Museum
- Highlights From The Museum Collection - Groninger Museum
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