Credited with being one of the first people to recognize the genius of Vincent van Gogh, Helene Kröller-Müller was an art collector who founded the Kröller-Müller Museum in the Hoge Veluwe National Park. At the heart of her life’s work is the largest privately owned collection of Van Gogh’s work anywhere in the world, and it was her passion for his oeuvre that undoubtedly helped bring him more international recognition.
- Explore a varying selection taken from the 300 works by Vincent van Gogh in the world's second-largest collection of the artist's work.
- Learn how the attention of Helene Kröller-Müller helped inspire international recognition for Van Gogh.
- See iconic works by modern artists amidst a stunning national park.
Helene Kröller-Müller's passion for art
Helene Kröller-Müller was a leading European art patron of the early 20th century, and one of the first women in Europe to acquire a major art collection. Born in Germany in 1869, she married her father's business partner the Dutch Anton Kröller in 1888. Under the leadership of Kröller, Müller & Co grows into a highly profitable company and with the acquired assets Helene was able to start an art collection in 1907. Under the guidance of influential art critic and tutor HP Bremmer – himself an avid supporter of Vincent van Gogh’s work – she and her husband amassed a considerable collection of almost 12,000 works between 1907 and 1922, making their collection one of the largest private art collections of the 20th century. At its heart are nearly 300 works by Van Gogh, the display of which is said to have significantly contributed to the fame of the artist. In 1935 she and her husband donated their entire collection to the Dutch people. The Kröller-Müller Museum opened its doors in a wooded corner of the Hoge Veluwe National Park in 1938, with its sculpture garden opening in 1961.
The recognition of Vincent van Gogh
Van Gogh was famously under-recognized during his lifetime, but Helene’s tutor H.P. Bremmer had been amongst his small circle of admirers, regarding him as one of the ‘great spirits of modern art’. Under Bremmer’s guidance, Helene began to collect Van Gogh works from dealers in Holland, Paris and Berlin, starting with ‘Edge of a Wood’ in 1908. Eventually exhibiting some works and telling others of their importance, she undoubtedly set in motion the recognition that has transformed Van Gogh into the world-renowned artist we know today.
See the largest private Van Gogh collection in the world
Thanks to Kröller-Müller’s avid collecting of the artist’s work, the Kröller-Müller Museum is home to the second-largest collection of Van Gogh artworks in the world – behind only the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. Between 1908 and 1929, Helene and Anton acquired 91 of his paintings and 180 works on paper. These include instantly recognizable masterpieces such as ‘Terrace of a Café at Night’ and ‘Country Road in Provence by Night’, alongside lesser-known paintings and studies of rural landscapes and peasant life in chalk, pencil and ink. Today, his works are thoughtfully displayed through various exhibitions at the museum, and most notably in a dedicated Van Gogh Gallery.
Modern masterpieces amongst the trees
The Kröller-Müller Museum also showcases an impressive array of 20th-century art. Works include paintings by leading representatives of the Cubist, Futurist and Avant-Garde movements: Picasso, Georges Braque, Giacomo Balla, Vilmos Hùszar, Fernand Léger and more. Helene Kröller-Müller was an avid supporter of the De Stijl movement, and a patron of prominent De Stijl artist Bart van der Leck. Her collection also includes several compositions by Piet Mondrian. In the sculpture garden, which is one of the largest of its kind in Europe, visitors can explore works by iconic artists dotted amongst the trees and gardens. The collection includes sculptures by over 160 artists, including Auguste Rodin, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Pierre Huyghe, Gerrit Rietveld, Richard Serra, Joep van Lieshout and many more.
More in the region
The Kröller-Müller Museum is located in the Hoge Veluwe National Park, one of the largest nature reserves in Holland. Combine your visit to the museum with a walk or cycle through the park to experience the wildlife and raw nature of Gelderland.
Taste the local produce of the Veluwe region at one of the several Michelin-starred restaurants in the area, some of which also offer overnight accommodation. Some participating restaurants in the region also showcase Van Gogh-inspired menus.