RKD is looking for information about the Collection of J.F.S. Esser
The early twentieth century saw the formation of several important Dutch collections of contemporary art. Collectors acquired artworks shortly after their creation and thus contributed to the reputation and dissemination of modern art in The Netherlands. Art-historical research has managed to reconstruct some of these collections, including those of Piet Boendermaker and P.A. Regnault. Others, such as the collection of Dr. J.F.S. Esser (1877-1946), remain relatively obscure to this day.
J.F.S. Esser was a well-known medical doctor, but he was also a collector of Dutch early-modern art. Artists such as G.H. Breitner and Jan Sluijters were his patients. He gave them both financial and moral support and was one of the first to collect their works. At first he admired the Hague and Amsterdam Schools, with Breitner as his particular favourite. By 1907, however, he had turned his attention to the luminous art of a group of young painters then deemed to be 'ultra-modern', such as Jan Sluijters, Leo Gestel, Piet Mondriaan, and Piet van der Hem. Several publications have already emphasized Esser's importance as a pioneering collector of modern Dutch art.
Project and exhibition
Between 1906 and 1912 Esser assembled an impressive collection estimated at a thousand works. The collection offered a representative overview of Dutch painting and drawing of the early twentieth century and, in addition to art by those painters already mentioned, contained works by Isaac Israels, Théophile De Bock, Willem Witsen, Herman Gouwe, Hendrik Weegewijs, Piet van Wijngaerdt, Jaap Weijand, and others.
The importance of the Esser collection fully justifies the plan of the RKD and Laren's Singer Museum to reconstruct it as completely as possible. 13 December 2005 – 28 April 2006 – a century after Esser began to collect – a representative selection from his collection was on view in Laren, in the Singer Museum.
The RKD asks anyone with information about one or more artworks that have come from Dr. J.F.S. Esser's collection to contact:
Mayken Jonkman LL.M MA, or: Jacqueline de Raad MA
T: + 31 (0)70 333 97 77
All confidential information will be treated as such.