VVAK Lustrum Symposium “Collecting Asian Art in the Western World – Past, Present and Future”

VVAK Lustrum Symposium “Collecting Asian Art in the Western World – Past, Present and Future”

Date : 23 juin 2018, 9h30-19h30

Lieu : Auditorium Rijksmuseum Amsterdam


The Asian Art Society in the Netherlands (VVAK) was founded in June 1918 as a private initiative by a handful of connoisseurs with the intention to stimulate interest in art from Asia and to unite art lovers in the field. Ten years later, the organisation decided to start its own museum, which opened in 1932. Now – 100 years since its foundation – the VVAK’s pieces form a substantial part of the Rijksmuseum’s Asian art collection, and its members form a large group of dedicated enthusiasts.

The board of the VVAK is pleased to invite you to the international symposium Collecting Asian Art in the Western World: Past, Present & Futureon 23 June 2018.

The symposium will be held in the Rijksmuseum, the home of the VVAK’s collection, of which alternating highlights are displayed in the Asian Pavilion throughout the year.


Vous pouvez télécharger le programme ici.


Private art collectors and their gifts are at the foundation of most European and American art museums.  This also applies to the field of Asian art, in the East as well as in the West. Especially from the late nineteenth century onwards connoisseurs have created outstanding collections, individually and collectively via societies. Most of the major collections of Asian art originally started as private initiatives and later developed into museums.


The Vereniging van Vrienden der Aziatische Kunst (VVAK), or Asian Art Society in the Netherlands, was founded in 1918 as an entirely private initiative. The collection of the VVAK distinguishes itself from the collections of the various Dutch ethnographical museums by focusing on high quality art works only. The VVAK does not collect any form of export art made for the West. The growing collection was initially shown at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam  before it was moved to the Rijksmuseum in 1952, where it has been on loan ever since. The vast majority of the art objects displayed in the Asian Pavilion of the Rijksmuseum is the property of the VVAK.


One of the earliest examples of a collectors’ society is the Bataviaasch Genootschap van Kunsten en Wetenschappen (Batavia Society for Arts and Science) in Batavia, now Jakarta, that was founded as early as 1778. Its collection is divided between the National Museum in Jakarta and the Museum Volkenkunde in Leiden. The English followed the Dutch with the foundation of the Oriental Ceramic Society in 1921, where after Germany founded the Gesellschaft für Ostasiatische Kunst in 1926 (East Asian Art Society). It was only after the Second World War that the first collections were initiated in the United States:  the Society for Asian Art in San Francisco and the Asia Society in New York City, both in 1958. They both resulted in the foundation of museums and their members collectively assembled excellent art objects to exhibit publicly.


One of the first museums for Asian art in Europe was initiated by the French connoisseur Emile Guimet and was based on his interest for ancient religions. The collecting policy of the VVAK was strongly guided by its co-founder and first chairman, the banker Herman Karel Westendorp, who personally bought important pieces for the society’s collection in the countries of origin in the 1930’s. Shortly after 1945, the Rietberg Museum was founded on the vast collections of the German-Swiss banker Eduard von der Heydt.


The history of collecting can be viewed through a variety of paradigms, as keynote speaker prof. John Guy argues. He will analyse historical, cultural, political and ethnic framing of collecting Asian art, both in private and public arenas. The heyday of collecting non-western art is over now. Today, the export and import of art from other continents is strictly regulated. The provenance of each object must be checked on the (legal) circumstances of its acquisition and origin. At the same time, museums reconsider ways to exhibit Asian art and heritage, protecting it while at the same time trying to attract a broader and younger audience.

OpenEdition vous propose de citer ce billet de la manière suivante :
artsdelacoree (6 juin 2018). VVAK Lustrum Symposium “Collecting Asian Art in the Western World – Past, Present and Future”. Arts de la Corée. Consulté le 21 juillet 2024 à l’adresse https://doi.org/10.58079/d0m9

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