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Amsterdam is not only the place of Vincent Van Gogh or Rembrandt, the contemporary art scene is vivid and the Stedelijk Museum strives to be one of the most innovative and interesting museums of modern art in the entire world. After eight years of renovation and a construction of a new building next to the old one, the museum has reopened in September of 2012. Moreover, while again, almost as at its first opening more than hundred years ago, the Stedelijk Museum drew controversies for its artistic choice, its policy and its financial decisions, the new museum is yet again interesting and fun to visit.
Established in 1895 as the municipal museum, the Stedelijk became only in 1938 the state museum, with its interests divided into many disciplines as art, objects documenting history of Amsterdam now in the collection of Amsterdam Museum and specific subjects as history of medicine. It is only at the beginning of 1970’s, that the Stedelijk became solely the modern art museum.
Today the Stedelijk Museum has one of the richest modern art collections in the world. Along with all important names of modern painting movements as Impressionists, Fauvism, Cubism, Expressionism, it has a unique collection of 29 paintings by Casimir Malevich, equally exceptional collection of De Stijl and Cobra movement, superb Dutch photography collection, a very good collection of Dutch design and furniture and interesting collection of European and American trends in art since 1950 as works of Matisse, Picasso, Newman, Rauschenberg and Warhol completed with Italian Arte Povera and German modern painting.
The Stedelijk´s main building was built in the years 1891-1895 at Paulus Potterstraat, at the short walking distance from the Rijksmuseum, to house the collection of art and antiques left to the city by Sophia Augusta Lopez Suasso de Bruyn. It was designed by A.W.Weissman, Amsterdam city architect at the time. It was a period when Dutch architecture was searching for its values in the historical past. Happily, the Stedelijk´s neo renaissance façade, decorated with several figurative sculptures, has been during the following renovations modernized and simplified, losing much of its rich decorum. People of Amsterdam like the old Weissman building, perhaps because of the contrast it creates with the modern art collection exhibited inside.
In September of 2012, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands opened the Stedelijk. At the back of the Weismann building, a similar in size modern building designed by the Dutch architect Mels Crouwel was added. Its form surprises the visitor as it looks like a huge bathtub, with the main entry to the museum now relocated to underneath, between the bathtub’s legs. The building’s form bluntly violates its beautiful neighborhood but on the other hand, the building gives an impression of being functional, at least on its ground level where it opens widely to the Museumplein.
© Amsterdam info.