Size: The collection consists of 1419 letters.
Access: A complete survey can be found in the shelf list at the Department of Special Collections, besides, the letters have been made accessible by means of the alphabetical folder and the CEN. The letters are full-text available.
More information: Ad Leerintveld 070-3140320.
The collection of letters addressed to the painter, engraver, photographer and publicist Willem Witsen (1860-1923), which was handed over by the Witsen House in 1945, is one of the most frequently consulted collections of the KB. This is not surprising considering that, since Witsen occupied a central position within the "bent van Tachtig", one can come across letters from quite a few literary and artistic lions. Initially, Witsen received his friends at Ewijkshoeve, near Zeist, but in later years he would entertain in his Amsterdam studio at Oosterparkstraat, which has partly been preserved in its original state. Among the correspondents are various interesting men of letters, such as Hein Boeken, Lodewijk van Deyssel, Willem Kloos, Jacobus van Looy en Jan Veth, while among the artists one encounters such names as G.H. Breitner, A.J. Derkinderen, Isaac Israels and Willem Tholen.
Whereas the collection as it is mainly contains letters addressed to Witsen, the KB received a collection of 93 letters, mainly written by Witsen in 1996, from one of his grandsons, so that one can also get a good impression of Witsen as a scribe.
R. van der Wiel. Ewijkshoeve, tuin van tachtig. Amsterdam 1988.
Ch. Vergeer. Toen werden schoot en boezem lekkernij. Erotiek van de Tachtigers. Amsterdam 1990.
K. Thomassen. 'Willem Witsen'. In: Verzamelaars en verzamelingen. Koninklijke Bibliotheek 1798-1998. Zwolle 1998, p. 130-132.