Singer Laren and RKD collaborate on Kees van Dongen exhibition


Anita Hopmans, senior curator at the RKD, recently completed her research into the artist Kees van Dongen (1877-1968) and she is preparing a doctoral thesis on his work. She is guest curator for the exhibition Kees van Dongen at Singer Laren, which focuses on the artist’s path to succes. The exhibition opens on 17 January 2023.

Ambitious artist

'Just you watch, I’m going to be famous.' These highly ambitious words were uttered by the young artist Kees van Dongen, born in Delfshaven. History would prove him right. How did the young artist manage to break through in Paris and, in a very short time, become one the most celebrated artists of the twentieth century? This question is at the heart of the exhibition organised by Singer Laren together with the RKD. Following earlier exhibitions in 2011 (about the artist Jan Sluijters) and in 2016 (about Fr. Buffa art dealers), this is the third time the RKD and Singer Laren have joined forces.

1. Kees van Dongen, Two eyes, 1911, collection J.K. Art Foundation
2. Kees van Dongen, Fauve Self-portrait, 1909, private collection 
3. Kees van Dongen, Red and yellow, 1911, private collection

Van Dongen expert

Anita Hopmans is senior curator at the RKD and an expert on the work of Van Dongen. She was responsible for selecting the exhibition and writing the accompanying catalogue Kees van Dongen. De weg naar success (Kees van Dongen. The path to success), published by Waanders Publishers. Previously, she was guest curator for the exhibitions De onbekende Van Dongen. Vroege en fauvistische tekeningen 1895-1912 / Van Dongen retrouvé. L'Oeuvre sur papier, 1895-1912 (1997), in Rotterdam, Lyon and Paris; De grote ogen van Kees van Dongen / Van Dongen. Fauve, anarchiste et mondain (2010-2011), in Rotterdam and Paris, and Van Dongen & le Bateau-Lavoir (2018) at the Musée de Montmartre in Paris.


Kees van Dongen was among the vanguard of Dutch artists who went to Paris around 1900. There he found himself at the centre of the avant-garde and artistic innovation, and he transformed himself as a painter. Thanks to Anita Hopmans’s research ahead of the exhibition, previously unknown paintings from Van Dongen’s avant-garde years have been brought together for the exhibition, creating a surprising and comprehensive impression of the flying start enjoyed by the artist early in his career. The exhibition features important loans from Dutch and foreign museums, including Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, the Statens Museum for Kunst in Copenhagen, the Centre Pompidou, Musée d'Art Moderne de Paris, the Nouveau Musée National de Monaco, as well as a great many private collections.

The exhibition Kees van Dongen runs from 17 January to 7 May 2023 at Singer Laren.

1. Van Dongen with his daughter Guusje (Dolly) in his studio, impasse Girardon 10, Paris, c. 1905, collection RKD
2. Jasmy posing for Van Dongen, rue Juliette-Lamber 5, Paris, 1925, collection RKD