Thuistezien 299 — 09.01.2022

Evert van Uitert
Book Collection

From Alan Watts to Nietzsche and from Moby Dick to collected art books by van Gogh; this is just a selection of names from the enormous collection of (mostly modern art) books of Evert van Uitert donated to m d d: arts and West Den Haag last year when he past away in May 2021. Van Uitert was a Dutch art historian and a professor emeritus at the University of Amsterdam, and, In his own field of modern art, was a greatly renowned Van Gogh expert. Since 1970 he has published books about the world-famous painter, several of which were translated into German, English and Spanish among other languages. Next to this, he collaborated on the major retrospective and commemorative exhibitions at the Van Gogh Museum and the Kröller-Müller Museum in 1990. In addition to his publications, van Uitert also wrote for De Gids and De Volkskrant, sharing not only his knowledge of and fascination with Van Gogh but also other great artists such as Malevich.

In the beautiful, spacious library of the former American embassy designed by Marcel Breuer, West Den Haag, since establishing itself within the building in 2019, has exhibited a series of exhibitions devoted to language, letters and writing. The library, with the name ‘Alphabetum’, consists of two levels. The bottom serves as the exhibition space, and the top, a balustrade, you can wander along many bookcases and let yourself be surprised by the works of various philosophers to contemporary artists from the extensive book collection of Van Uitert.

Promoted in 1983, with a thesis that caused a stir, Van Uitert had developed an entirely unique approach, placing the artist and his artistic process in his time frame to examine what shaped him. Later, this approach became a common method among art historians. Van Uitert often managed to distinguish himself from his peers, and was also fond of sharing his divergent view of contemporary art. The material from which he worked is now on display in the Alphabetum of West Den Haag. An additional exhibition in the spring of 2022 will focus on the life and work of this art historian.

Text: Stella Loning