Martin Visser: collector, designer, free spirit, Bonnefanten Museum, Maastricht

March 13 - June 17, 2012

Half a century of intense involvement with the avant-garde in the fields of art, furniture design and architecture

Martin Visser (1922 Papendrecht -Bergeijk 2009), renowned furniture designer and driving force behind the Visser collection, purchased his first work from Karel Appel in 1948.
Over the course of thirty years, Martin and his first wife Mia and brother Geertjan Visser acquired many works by now established names of the neo-avant-garde, at an early stage of their career, including Piero Manzoni, Christo, Ellsworth Kelly, Joseph Beuys, Dan Flavin, Bruce Nauman, Carl Andre, Robert Morris, Sol LeWitt, Richard Long, Daniel Buren, Marcel Broodthaers, Hanne Darboven and Panamarenko.

After the death of Mia Visser (1977), Martin Visser and his second wife Joke Visser -van der Heijden focused on key figures of the postmodern era, such as A.R. Penck, Anselm Kiefer, Sigmar Polke, Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jenny Holzer, George Condo, Eugene Leroy and Daan van Golden. Alongside his extremely active role as a collector, Martin Visser was also a renowned furniture designer. He was also active in giving commissions. His house in Bergeijk, which has now been declared a listed building, was constructed in 1955 to a design by Gerrit Rietveld, and considerably extended in 1968 to a design by Aldo van Eyck.

The exhibition shows:
-Over a hundred art works (paintings, sculpture, photography and works on paper)
-Works in situ by Daniel Buren, Sol LeWitt, Richard Long and Lawrence Weiner, conceived in
the sixties and seventies especially for Visser's house in Bergeijk, will be executed again in
the Bonnefanten.
- A selection of archive materials, including letters and postcards from artists.
-Eight important furniture designs by Martin Visser.
-Interior photos taken recently by Johannes Schwartz give an impression of how life amidst
art, design and architecture can look.
-A specially created model gives insight into the extraordinary changes made to Gerrit
Rietveld's original 1955 design by Aldo van Eyck.

Work in progress
Have a look at the works going on at the museum for the installation of the show.

This exhibition has been organized in close cooperation with the Kröller-Müller Museum, which has over 400 works under the name of 'Former Visser collection'. It is the museum's largest loan operation ever, with more than a hundred art works travelling to Maastricht.
In the same period, the Kröller-Müller Museum will also be presenting works from the 'Former Visser collection' in the exhibition Desire for perfection (1 April -28 October 2012). It will include works by Jenny Holzer, Anselm Kiefer, Dan Flavin and A.R. Penck.