Artland magazine special edition featuring 14 Dutch art collectors

Collecting art is a personal journey which each collector navigates differently. However, all have one thing in common: the joy of sharing the fruits of their journey with likeminded.

To bring some of these captivating stories to life we have compiled fourteen interviews with Dutch art collectors, whom are all different but equally passionate about sharing their personal collector journey.

Meet Eva Krook & Peter van Duinen!

Name: Eva Krook & Peter van Duinen
Location: Amsterdam
Started collecting in year: 1985
Number of artworks in collection:  50 pieces, including design       

As an art historian and founding partner of The Vrije Academie in Amsterdam – an academy dedicated to share the rich subject of art history – Peter van Duinen shares his passion for art on a daily basis. For him, it is one of the most genuine expressions of humanity that sparks curiosity and creativity both visually and intellectually. Together with his wife Eva Krook, he has been collecting art since 1985, which has grown into an eclectic collection of 16th and 17th century prints, contemporary photography, ethnographic art, and modern design.

Photos by Saffron Pape

What is your earliest memory of art, and what led you to start collecting it?

For me (Peter), my earliest memory of art was calendar prints that I collected as a kid, all prints of 17th century paintings. When I was twelve, I visited the Rijksmuseum for the first time. I was impressed by the Rembrandt’s ‘Night Watch’, but did not really like it straight away. I was an early fan of Paulus Potter and Albert Cuyp. When I realized I could buy prints of 17th Century art, I immediately did that.

What is the main motivation behind your collecting?

Art is wonderful to live with. We use it to decorate our house, and now, for the first time, we find we have too many pieces. We have some stuff in stock. From an early age, I have been valuing art as one of the best expressions of humanity. Sometimes visually, sometimes intellectually. That is also why I became an art historian.

Is there a unifying element in your art collection?

It is pleasant to live with. There is a lot of contemporary photography, which is Eva’s influence. Lots of 16th and 17th century prints too.

Is there a piece in your collection you have a particularly strong attachment to or/and are there any particular artists who play a significant role in your collection?

We now have 5 pieces by Kyungwoo Chun, the South Korean photographer. It started with a big piece, one day in Seoul. We were able to buy it because, a couple of days after seeing it, I received an inheritance from a great-uncle I had never heard off, which exactly covered the purchase. Eva’s favourite piece is a Desiree Dolron from the Cuba series, one of our most recent purchases, she had seen it earlier as a student and never forgot about it.

How important is it for you to meet the artist behind the artwork?

Not so much. Although it sometimes works the other way around. After meeting Robert Zandvliet, I would really like to acquire some of his work!

How has your taste changed since you started collecting?

It has become somewhat broader; ethnographic art, modern design, furniture etcetera. Those are areas we didn’t really look at ten years ago

The art world is booming with art fairs all around the world. Are you a regular art fair goer?

We try to visit one or two every year. I do not think we ever missed Unseen in Amsterdam. We loved Art Basel, also the Miami edition. Closer to home; Art Rotterdam is very good too. Once every two years I go to Tefaf Maastricht.

How is the online art market evolving according to you?

The online art market is definitely evolving. I bought a major early 17th century print online last year at Christies. So it works, but not yet for all art. I would be hesitant with paintings.

In your opinion, what is the role of an art collector in the making of art history?

In most cases not so big, but there have been very influential collectors in the past. They have set the stage for up-and-coming artists. For me they are more like rainmakers, or influencers you would call them now, and they also just happen to collect.

Where do you think the future of the art world is headed?

Art will become more diverse and more accessible. However, the ultimate pinnacle of the art world will become even more elusive than today. The gap will increase.

Describe your collection in three words

Pleasant. Personal.

Top three pieces of advice for new collectors

Buy what you like and can afford. See as much as you can and learn. Do not be overwhelmed by the art world, stay away from snobbery, go for what you find interesting. Top three art destinations Art Basel, Chateau La Coste in Provence, and Marfa, Texas.

Three inspiring artists to watch

Caroline Walker, Desiree Dolron, and Kyungwoo Chun