After the First World War, the movement Outsider Art gained a lot of attention. Psychiatrist Hans Prinzhorn (1886-1993) published his book ‘Bildnerei der Geisteskranken’ with a great collection of art work by people from psychiatric institutions. Many artists were inspired by this, including Salvador Dalí, Karel Appel and Asger Jorn.
One of the first museums that showed an interest in this art form, was the Museum of Modern Art in 1929 in New York. Director Alfred Barr called autodidactic art one of the three ‘great movements of modern art’, together with surrealism and abstraction.
In 1972, the French artist Jean Dubuffet thought of the term ‘Art Brut’, which means ‘raw art’. The English art historian Roger Cardinal introduced the term ‘Outsider Art’ in 1972. In 2013, the Venice Biennale caused a breakthrough for Outsider Art in the international art world. With the establishment of the Outsider Art Museum in the Hermitage Amsterdam, there now is a permanent place for the development of current Outsider Art in the Netherlands.
The Dolhuys has been successfully operating the museum of the mind in Haarlem for ten years, enabling the public to connect with the special parts of the human mind. Several well-regarded exhibitions in The Dolhuys are dedicated to Outsider Art. The acquired expertise and experience of exhibiting and collecting Outsider Art are now deployed in the Hermitage Amsterdam. Director of The Dolhuys Hans Looijen is art- and business wise responsible for the new museum.
Within the Hermitage Amsterdam, space has been created for an Outsider Art Gallery, an art library and an atelier for artists from Cordaan. As partner of the new Outsider Art Museum, Cordaan wants recognition for talented artists with disabilities. A special program will soon be started in the atelier, which should evolve into the national ‘state academy’ for Outsider-art.
With the arrival of the new Outsider Art Museum, the Hermitage Amsterdam offers a platform to a growing trend in contemporary art. In addition to the traditional changing exhibits from the State museum St Petersburg Hermitage and the successful Portrait Gallery of the Golden Age from the collections of the Amsterdam Museum and Rijksmuseum, the contemporary art is a surprising addition.
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