Masterpieces from the Koopman Collection in Brussels
The Koopman Collection is one of the large number of speciual collections in the Koninklijke Bibliotheek. The subject of this collection is a rather unusual one for the Dutch National Library: French artist’s books of the twentieth century. After a successful exhibition at Auxerre (2009), seventy valuable books from the Koopman Collection may now be seen at the exhibition ‘Voices and visions. The Art of the French Book in the National Library of the Netherlands’ in the Bibliotheca Wittockiana at Brussels. Those who want to familiarize themselves with the collection at home, can watch and listen to videos with spoken text by Philip Freriks and Chazia Mourali.
Louis Koopman and Anny Antoine
Louis Koopman (1887-1968) and his fiancée from Brussels, Anny Antoine (1897-1933) both collected French illustrated literature, artist’s books that often appeared in limited editions. After Anny’s untimely death Koopman continued collecting in honour of her memory. He gave the collection to the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, together with a bequest to maintain and enlarge it. The bequest is administered by the Anny Antoine/Louis Koopman Foundation.
The collection comprises over 10,000 special works designed by important artists. Miró, Matisse and Picasso are among the well-known, but other twentieth-century artists such as Sonia Delaunay, Bram van Velde and Georges Braque are to be found in the collection as well. It is not just the text blocks of these books that were made by artists’ hands; the bindings are often beautiful examples of artistic craftsmanship as well. In 2009, a book about the collection appeared: Voix et visions. La Collection Koopman et l'Art du Livre français. An English translation appeared simultaneously: Voices and Visions. The Koopman Collection and the Art of the French Book. The book was published in cooperation with Waanders publishers.
Videos with spoken text by Philip Freriks and Chazia Mourali
You can now get to know the Koopman Collection by watching the videos on Louis Koopman and Anny Antoine, the collection, French artist’s books and more backgrounds. Philip Freriks and Chazia Mourali, both francophiles, have lent their voices for these stories. In addition, the digital collection provides some 200 richly illustrated articles on books from the Koopman Collection.
In 1983, Michel Wittock founded the Bibliotheca Wittockiana as a place to store and present his rich collection of c.5,000 bookbindings. Several major exhibitions of bookbindings and book art are organized by the Bibliotheca Wittockiana each year. The present exhibition of seventy masterpieces from the Koopman Collection is on display from 7 October 2011 to 14 January 2012. For more information, see the Bibliotheca Wittockiana website.