Mad About Surrealism

Dalí • Ernst • Magritte • Miró

11.02 - 28.05.2017


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‘Mad About Surrealism’

Dalí, Ernst, Magritte, Miró... From the Collections of Roland Penrose, Edward James, Gabrielle Keiller and Ulla and Heiner Pietzsch

From 11 February to 28 May 2017, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is proud to present Mad About Surrealism, an unprecedented survey of the Surrealist movement with masterpieces from four famous European collections. The majority of the works have rarely or never been exhibited publicly and will disappear behind closed doors again at the end of May 2017.

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s spring 2017 exhibition explores the magical world of Surrealism. In partnership with renowned museums in Edinburgh and Hamburg, the museum is showing how artists such as Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, René Magritte and Joan Miró used their passion and imagination to subvert everyday reality.

The more than 300 works in the exhibition are from four superb private collections, which have been brought together for the first time.

This internationally travelling exhibition was developed in close collaboration with two renowned international art museums: the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh and the Hamburger Kunsthalle.

Artists in the exhibition

Acme Newspictures, Inc., Eileen Agar, Jean (Hans) Arp, Cecil Beaton, Hans Bellmer, Victor Brauner, André Breton, Edward Carrick, Leonora Carringon, Giorgio de Chirico, Joseph Cornell, Salvador Dalí, Paul Delvaux, Marcel Duchamp, Nusch Éluard, Paul Éluard, Max Ernst, Plutarco Gastélum Esquer, D. Gascoyne, Alberto Giacometti, Stanley William Hayter, Maurice Henry, Hannah Höch, Valentine Hugo, Georges Hugnet, Edward James, Marcel Jean, Jaqueline Lamba, René Magritte, André Masson, Vincent Mentzel, E.L.T. Mesens, Claude Michaelides, Lee Miller, Joan Miró, Henry Moore, P. Naville, Wolfgang Paalen, Eduardo Paolozzi, Norman Parkinson, H. Pastoureau, Roland Penrose, Valentine Penrose, B. Péret, Francis Picabia, Pablo Picasso, Man Ray, H. Read, Mark Rothko, Henri Rousseau, Eric Schaal, N. Simon, A. Stieglitz, H. Sykes Davies, Yves Tanguy, Dorothea Tanning, Eileen Tweedy & Tristan Tzara.

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen – the Surrealism museum in the Netherlands

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen has an extensive collection of Surrealist art, which was begun in the 1970s. While the other Dutch museums concentrated on the cool modernism of Northern Europe, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen turned its attention to the developments in the southern cities of Brussels, Paris and Madrid.

The museum organised exhibitions of works by Man Ray and René Magritte and in 1970 Salvador Dalí’s first European retrospective opened in Rotterdam. The artist’s attendance at the opening resulted in massive publicity and visitors queued for hours to see the exhibition.

The museum’s Surrealist collection now comprises more than 125 paintings and sculptures plus a collection of rare books and publications, which attracts art lovers from all over the world. With ‘Mad About Surrealism’, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is once again demonstrating the power of the art movement that is an important cornerstone of its collection and the exhibition programme.

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Surrealist game

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen has developed a Surrealist game in collaboration with the Hamburger Kunsthalle that can be played online as well as in the exhibition.

Create surprising sentences full of fantasy and play now!

To the game

The collectors

The surrealists were passionate and their collectors were no less so. Three were assembled by eccentric British patrons: Edward James (1907-1984) Gabrielle Keiller (1908-1996) and Roland Penrose (1900-1984). The fourth collection belongs to the German couple Ulla and Heiner Pietzsch, who have collected art for decades and began to focus on the Surrealists in the 1970s.


The exhibition is accompanied by a richly illustrated catalogue in a beautifully designed case. It contains ten essays by the exhibition’s curators and other international experts on Surrealism. Available in all good bookshops, the museum bookshop and via the webshop.

  • ‘Gek van surrealisme’

  • Authors: Dawn Ades, Richard Calvocoressi, Désirée de Chair, Elizabeth Cowling, Hubertus Gassner, Annabelle Görgen, Keith Hartley, Saskia van Kampen-Prein, Antony Penrose
  • € 44,95
  • Webshop


4 March 2017
20.00 - 01.00
Museum Night

Expect an overwhelming Surrealist experience during this night with guided tours, workshops and surprising performances for young and old alike.

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Maximise your experience


Are you visiting with a group? Then why not book an hour-long guided tour of the exhibition? One of our guides will provide you with fascinating insights into the exhibition’s highlights.
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Get the most out of the exhibition with the audio tour. Dutch actress Loes Luca has recorded an exceptional 3D audio tour for Mad About Surrealism. You can hire the tour for € 3.00.

A taste of surrealism

Wednesday evening, 22 March 2017 & Tuesday evening, 16 May 2017

Specially for the exhibition ‘Mad About Surrealism’, four of Rotterdam’s top chefs have taken inspiration from Salvador Dalí’s cookbook ‘Les Dîners de Gala’. On Wednesday 27 March 2017, Erik van Loo, Fred Mustert, Gert Blom and Mario Ridder, who have six Michelin stars between them, will serve an exclusive four-course dinner in the museum’s restaurant, The Pavilion. This surreal dinner is combined with an exclusive private view of the exhibition ‘Mad About Surrealism’.

Each of the four chefs will serve a single course, paired with an appropriate wine. The starter will be prepared by Gert Blom from Restaurant Amarone. Erik van Loo from Parkheuvel will then serve the entremets entitled ‘Heaven and Earth’. Fred Mustert of FRED is responsible for the main course and the dinner will conclude with a surprising dessert created by Mario Ridder from Restaurant Joelia. The number of places is restricted to 160.

The first evening on Wednesday 22 is already sold out. But good news! On Tuesday, April 18th and Tuesday 16th May you can also taste Surrealism.

More information and reservations

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Buy your tickets online

Order your ticket to avoid waiting in line. Your ticket grants you access to the exhibition ‘Mad About Surrealism’ and the rest of the museum.

The museum expects a lot of visitors for this exhibition. To make your visit as pleasant as possible, we ask you to select your preferred visiting date on the calendar. Your ticket is only valid on this day.

Please note that during the exhibition you have to buy a supplement for the entire museum, also if you are a museum card holder. The supplement is also available here.

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