The beginning of a new world in The Kröller-Müller Museum

1 Jun 2019 – 29 Sep 2019

The exhibition ‘The beginning of a new world. The development of modern sculpture’ shows the development of modern sculpture through the eyes of Bram Hammacher, director of the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo from 1948 to 1963. Immediately upon his appointment, Hammacher chooses a new direction: seeking to document the development of modern sculpture at an international level.

Sculpture collection

He succeeds in bringing together a collection of sculptures that is a fully-fledged counterpart to Helene Kröller-Müller’s painting collection, thereby providing the museum a unique ‘profile’. Certainly at that time, there were very few major museums with an emphasis on sculpture.

Over the years, Hammacher manages to acquire works for Otterlo by amongst others Alexander Archipenko, Jean Arp, Antoine Bourdelle, Raymond Duchamp-Villon, Julio Gonzalez, Barbara Hepworth, Jacques Lipchitz, Marino Marini, Henry Moore, Constant Permeke, Auguste Rodin and Ossip Zadkine. Hammacher also purchases non-Western sculptures, as he wants to show the sources of inspiration for modern sculpture and painting.

The sculpture garden

Hammacher’s ultimate dream is the creation of a sculpture garden. That dream is realized in 1961: the garden is opened to widespread international interest. The concept, a labyrinthine garden in which nature and sculpture are regarded as equal, is completely new and revolutionary at the time. As of that moment, the Kröller-Müller became one of the most important international museums for modern sculpture. The sculpture garden is Hammacher’s most famous achievement, but he also acquires many sculptures for ‘indoors’, often in close correlation with the sculptures in the garden. With a large number of these sculptures, The beginning of a new world provides a richly varied picture of modern sculpture.

The exhibition also includes later acquisitions, some of which were made to complement the Hammacher collection. One of the most important is Le commencement du monde by Constantin Brancusi, the sculpture that inspired the title of the exhibition.

The perfect day out

The Kröller-Müller Museum is located in the middle of National Park De Hoge Veluwe. The museum is internationally acclaimed for its world-leading collection: the second-largest Van Gogh collection in the world (almost 90 paintings and over 180 drawings), but also masterpieces by modern masters such as Claude Monet, Georges Seurat, Pablo Picasso and Piet Mondriaan. In one of the largest sculpture gardens in Europe, it houses over 160 sculptures by iconic artists. This combination of nature and exquisite art guarantees a perfect day out, just as the museum’s founder Helene Kröller-Müller intended.

Practical information

The museum is open from Tuesday through Sunday and on public holidays from 10.00 to 17.00 hrs. The sculpture garden closes at 16.30 hrs. The exhibition The beginning of a new world  will be on display from 1 June 2019 through 29 September 2019. More information, E-tickets and group reservations via