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 Nienke van der Wal!

Matthijs Booij Dagje Strand/A day at the beach

Name: Nienke van der Wal
Location: Amsterdam
Started collecting in year:  2014 
Number of artworks in collection: 40                                             

Name of the collection: Collection van der Wal-Veenhuijsen

As a collector and founder of Young Collectors Circle – a platform dedicated to help emerging collectors navigate their way around the art world – Nienke van der Wal is helping shape the future of art collecting. Her mission is to make art more accessible through a socially driven approach that fosters dialogue and invites people to share their enthusiasm for art. Her own passion has resulted in a collection that specifically revolves around works by young, female, contemporary artists.

Photos by Saffron Pape

What is your earliest memory of art, and what led you to start collecting it?
I have always loved art and always visited museums, but it did not dawn on me until a few years ago that art was something I could collect myself.

What is the main motivation behind your collecting?
I love being surrounded by beautiful art, but my collection is also very personal. However, the meaning of the artworks, whether intended by the artist or the meaning I assign to it, is just as relevant. The idea behind the work is often more important and more lasting than the work itself.

Is there a unifying element in your art collection?
I collect a lot of art from young, female contemporary artists. I am drawn to their work, not just aesthetically but also because of the concerns and topics they address. By buying their art, I am able to support them and help them advance in their career, which I think is an important role for art collectors.

Is there a piece in your collection you have a particularly strong attachment to?
Somehow, the latest piece is always my favorite, but my current favorite is an artwork from South Africa made of nylon- and cotton pantyhose. I saw the work by Turiya Magadlela at The Armory Show in New York, and assumed right away that I would never be able to afford it, if it was shown at such a prestigious fair.
I was immediately drawn to it and got in touch with the gallery. Months later, they emailed me that they had a smaller size, and I purchased the work without seeing it in real life beforehand. It was quite exciting and stressful at the same time: when it finally arrived, I was really nervous. But it didn’t disappoint, it is even more beautiful than I imagined.

How important is it for you to meet the artist behind the artwork?
I always want to know more about the artists, and I have met most of the artists in my collection. It is not a must, but it can definitely be very interesting!

Are there any particular artists who play a significant role in your collection and whose development you have followed closely?
I am following a few artists closely, but have not collected anyone’s work in-depth yet – that is on my wish list for this year.

How has your taste changed since you started collecting?
I think this holds true for most collectors, but it is simply easiest to start with something that you understand immediately and something that is pleasing to the eye, and later move on to more challenging pieces. It is a natural development. I am now looking for more unique works in interesting media, like ceramics or mixed media, and as a result, I am buying less work in editions, such as photography.

How is the online art market evolving according to you?
For me, the online market is very important for research, but it is rare that I buy online. I think online is great for anything below €1,000 and above €50,000, when the value has been established. Anything between that, I want to see the artwork with my own eyes.

In your opinion, what is the role of an art collector in the making of art history?
Art collecting goes way beyond a nice piece to hang above your couch: when you buy emerging artists, you are not only supporting them financially in a time where they really need it, but you are also creating interest in them and providing space for experimentation. Art collectors can help shape the future of emerging artists

Turiya Magadlela , Unuthi wezigebengu V // Jennifer Tee, Abstraction of a form, shape or presence

Where do you think the future of the art world is headed?
I hope collecting will become less for the elite and more for the masses. But there is a lot of work to be done!

Describe your collection in three words.
Delicate. Feminine. Inspiring.


Top three pieces of advice for new collectors
1. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes! They are part of your learning curve as a collector. Ask questions and talk about art to learn more about it.
2. Support contemporary artists in your own country! It is really great to get to know them and follow them throughout their careers – and to acquire pieces from them before they get too expensive. It is also a big thrill when you have seen their artworks first and started collecting these artists before the market and institutions discovered them.
3. If you immediately love an artwork, ask yourself why. It is a good work or is it a work that reminds you of something you have seen before? The latter is just how our (reptilian) brains are wired, a scientist once explained that to me. So make sure the work is unique and special – and not a repetition of something someone else has done before (and probably better). The more you see (and go see a lot!), the more you will get the hang of this.
Top three art destinations
On my wish list: Cape Town for its gallery scene and the brand new museum that recently opened. Art destinations that are always great: New York, Paris, London.

Three inspiring artists to watch
Jennifer Tee, Turyia Magadlela, and Caroline Walker.
Matthijs Booij – Dagje Strand / A Day

Leo van Vugt, Untitled