About The Collection
The Dutch Collection of The Wolfsonian
The Wolfsonian—FIU has a large collection of Dutch artifacts dating from circa 1880 to 1940. The collection covers a range of materials, from glass to textiles to furniture, and includes the application of rare decorative techniques such as batik. In addition, there is an extensive collection of design drawings. The Dutch collection focuses on themes and subjects such as city life, industrial progress, and a variety of social issues. In the Netherlands socialism was an important political factor, and the collection contains artifacts and designs for building and housing that demonstrate the involvement of governmental institutes and societies with the daily lives of the lower and middle classes. Within a social and political context, the collection also explores Dutch colonialism in Indonesia, Surinam, and South Africa. Progress in 20th century transportation by means of train, aircraft, and ship is reflected in memorabilia and objects connected to railway, aviation, and navigation companies. Often these can be linked to former colonies, and connected to foreign trade. Political items such as posters, medals, and pamphlets, highlightthe Dutch position in both World War I and World WarII, and touch on relations with other countries.
The Wolfsonian—FIU library houses an unrivaled collection of Dutch "Nieuwe Kunst" (Art Nouveau or "new art") bookbindings, and decorative and ornamental ephemera produced in the Netherlands between the 1890s and 1920s. Much of the Dutch Nieuwe Kunst work represented in the library collection has been influenced, in part, and distinguished by themes, motifs, and techniques (such as batik), introduced by the Dutch East Indies colonies. Many of these items are characterized by geometric representations of plants and animals, and also demonstrate a holistic concern for symmetry typical of Oriental art.
Library holdings include several thousand rare book covers, calendars, proofs, advertisements, and original sketches. There are also excellent runs of important and beautifully designed periodicals such as De Architect, De Arbeid, Onze Kunst, In Den Nevel, and Wendingen. Some of the most noteworthy Dutch artists and designers ofthe turn of the century are represented in this collection, including Jan Toroop (1858-1928), L. W. R. Wenckebach (1860-1937), C. A. Lion-Cachet (1864-1945), Gerrit Willem Disselhof (1866-1924), Theodoor Nieuwenhius (1866-1951), and Chris Lebeau (1878-1945).