Ceramics designed by Theo Colenbrander (1841-1930) are instantly recognizable by their trademark vivid colour combinations and striking designs, full of swirling lines and intriguing patterns. Hendrik Willem and Sientje Mesdag’s collection of Colenbrander ceramics is amongst the finest in the Netherlands.
After Mesdag’s death, parts of their private collection were sold off. Mesdag & Colenbrander. A shared love of ceramics brings some of these items back to their original home for the first time ever.
Thanks in part to loans from the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and the Rijksmuseum, the exhibition includes a multitude of items from Colenbrander’s Rozenburg period (1884-1889), pieces from his time with the RAM pottery in Arnhem (1921-1924) and, in the top room of the museum, the glorious modern carpet made for the museum to a Colenbrander design.
The show also examines the creative process by which the pottery was designed and decorated. It includes ‘test pieces’ on which Colenbrander painted the patterns in watercolour paint and noted the colours the factory’s painters were to use. These ‘biscuit models’ are displayed alongside the finished products.
As a whole, the exhibition offers a representative overview of Colenbrander’s work and throws light on his relationship with Mesdag, who even became a shareholder in the Rozenburg pottery in The Hague, where Colenbrander was then chief designer.
The show is guest-curated by photographers Erik and Petra Hesmerg, who are also enthusiastic collectors of art and design. Their aesthetic arrangements of the pieces make the exhibition a spectacular visual experience.