Director and curators of the Museum van Bommel van Dam work almost continually on the expansion of the museum’s collection through active purchases. As project managers for the temporary exhibitions, they are in close contact with the corresponding artist(s). Above all, the Museum in Venlo is fortunate to receive long-term loans and gifts. Gifts from artists, private individuals and other collectors are usually the result of long-term relationships with the loaners and the museum. Before gifts are accepted, attention is paid to whether or not the works in question tie in with the permanent collection. Gifts are essential for the expansion of the museum’s collection and the reinforcement of the museum’s identity.
Therefore, in 2004, the museum accepted a sizeable legacy from the late painter Pieter Defesche (1921-1998). After his passing, Mrs. Defesche-Bakker decided to give her husband’s entire estate, paintings, gouaches, drawings, prints and countless sketches, letters, diaries and travel reports to the Museum van Bommel van Dam, the place where the artist and his work had felt at home from way back.
In 2008, the daughter of Jef Diederen (1920-2009) and her husband gave a number of works by Diederen from their own collection to the museum. The loaners want to preserve the works concerned for posterity in a museum setting and make them accessible for the public. Museum van Bommel van Dam accepted the gift because the museum already had work by Jef Diederen in its collection. Above all, the museum has expressed the intention to continue to collect ‘Amsterdam Limburgers’ and to draw the attention of a wider public to them.
Partly for this reason, the museum received another large gift a year later and the museum’s collection was reinforced with more than one thousand works of art by the hand of the Limburg artist Marianne van der Heijden (1922-1998). The gift included etchings, wood cuts, drawings, watercolours, paintings behind glass and several oil paintings. In addition, personal effects, photos, documents and diaries provide an insight into the life of the artist.
Mid 2009, the collector couple Tijmen and Helen Knecht-Drenth gave the museum 600 works of art in addition to a sum of money for future additions. This included works on paper (watercolours, gouaches, chalk drawings, pastels, pen and ink drawings) and prints (aquatint, embossing, photogravure, wood engraving, lithographs, silk-screen prints) by international artists such as Karel Appel, Pierre Alechinsky, Armando, Bram Bogart, Georges Braque, Alexander Calder, Marlène Dumas, Hans Hartung, Barbara Hepworth, François Morellet, Robert Rauschenberg, Mimmo Rotella, Jan Schoonhoven, Antoni Tàpies and Andy Warhol. The works of art, which span more than fifty years, dovetail nicely into the museum’s collection which already includes international prints by visual artists from Belgium, Germany, England, France and the United States.
Various long-term loans complete the existing collection. Museum van Bommel van Dam manages a number of important works of art from private collections, but also from institutes like the Institute for Cultural Heritage (ICN) and associate museums.
A number of important loaners are:
- ICN, Amsterdam (including Pieter Defesche, Shinkichi Tajiri, Jaap Wagemaker and Edgar Fernhout).
- Stichting Culturele Samenwerking (StiCuSa) (including Gerrit Benner, Jan Wiegers, Edgar Fernhout and Willem Oepts).
- Museum De Pont, Tilburg (six works by Hans van Hoek)
- Hans and Cora de Vries (including works by Armando, Hans van Hoek and Alfons Freymuth).
- Wim de Haan Foundation