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 Manuela Klerkx & Oscar van Gelderen!

Name: Manuela Klerkx
Location: Amsterdam
Started collecting in year:  I do not remember exactly, but what I do know, is that ever since I started working in the art world, in 1992, I received smaller and bigger art works of artists I used to work with. As a gallery assistant, you cannot afford to buy art, but at the same time, I was in the situation to start a small collection of ‘art presents’. I seriously started collecting art when I met my husband in 2010.
Number of artworks in collection: 500

Name of collection: Oscar van Gelderen and Manuela Klerkx       

 Manuela Klerkx’s love for art started out in her early childhood while listening to the sound of brushes moving on the canvas and smelling the paint from her father’s studio. It turned out to be a lifelong passion both privately and professionally. As of today, Manuela and her husband Oscar van Gelderen have comprised a collection of 500 artworks and are managing Klerkx International Art Management. Their hope is that the future art world will not be separated from the rest of the world, but will be a common focus point in our shared history. Therefore, they have dedicated their lives to support visionary artists who create art with a high level of authenticity and the potential to create a shift in art history.

Photos by Saffron Pape

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

My earliest memories of art are my father’s paintings. I remember as a child, lying in my bed, hearing my father paint in his studio and smelling the oil paint. I loved the sound of the brushes moving on the canvas. I like to be surrounded by art objects that are related to situations, events, or people I love or care for. They symbolize a certain feeling or emotion that I remember each time I see them.

What is the main motivation behind your collecting?

My husband and I like to support young artists with a mission, like Icy & Sot, two young brothers from Iran, now living in the US, whose work is rather political. However, we also love to collect outsider art, work by forgotten artists, conceptual art or abstract painting, as long as we feel emotionally attracted to the work and, preferably, the artist. My husband and I share the same passion for art. We love to visit art fairs, artist studios, galleries etcetera and to look at art together. I believe it makes our relationship even stronger.

Is there a unifying element in your art collection?

I believe that our collection is a very independent one. We do not follow certain styles or media, galleries, or tendencies, we just follow our intuition. We like to buy in galleries as well as online. We have a lot of work by self-taught artists who, for one reason or the other, do not fit in the system. Their work often has a very high level of authenticity, which we are looking for.

Is there a piece in your collection you have a particularly strong attachment to?

In fact, there are a few pieces from the same Dutch artist, Leon Adriaans, whose work Oscar and I particularly love. Adriaans was an artist and a farmer whose paintings express his struggle with life and at the same time celebrate all kind of daily life elements like eggs in a litter, a sunset, windows, his wife, etc. His work is a combination of emotion and struggle in a very direct way, painted in bright colors.

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

We like to know the artist. His or her personality can add value to the work. The more we appreciate the artist the more we feel close to the work.

Are there any particular artists who play a significant role in your collection and whose development you have followed closely?

We have been following Icy & Sot since 2010. They were still living in Iran at the time, and they asked us to help them to get out of the country and to settle down in the US. We helped them with the documents and stuff and we have been buying their work – we discovered through the internet – ever since. We have hosted two shows with them in Holland and two in NYC. We have been following them closely since the day we got in touch. Currently, we are preparing their first exhibition in a museum in the Netherlands.

How has your taste changed since you started collecting?

I think Oscar and I do influence each other’s taste but we are rather consistent: once we fall in love with the work of an artist, we never regret. On the contrary, we often like to buy more work by the same artist.

How is the online art market evolving according to you?

The online art market will not stop growing. A new generation of collectors likes to scout and purchase art online for different reasons. You can find most information online and not every collector has time enough to travel from one art fair to the other… There are so many interesting platforms and blogs where you can do research and so many online auctions and webshops that it has become very easy to buy online.

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

Try to be a visionary like topnotch artists such as Warhol and Picasso. They created a shift in art history, but not without the help of many visionary collectors.

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

We hope that in the future the art world does not consider itself separated from the rest of the world. The better we communicate with people outside the art world, the more people get involved with art.

Describe your collection in three words

Original. International. Eclectic.

Top three pieces of advice for new collectors

1. See as much at as you can (and read a lot).

2. Stick to the budget you wanted to spend on art.

3. Take your time before you decide. The art works will not run away and never make decisions under pressure.

Top three art destinations

New York, Antwerpen, and Basel.

Three inspiring artists to watch

All the artists I represent 🙂 Lonnie Holley, Satijn Panyigay, and Josef Beuys.