Turkish Tulips at Amsterdam

Sorry, teased you a bit. The title of the small exhibition at the canal house museum van Loon does refer to tulips. However, it also refers to the artist’s name and works of art by him and his friends. While walking through this period home, you need to watch carefully to detect some of the exhibited modern art. It is a bit of a treasure hunt.

I already gave you one hint: tulips. The other hint: ask at the desk, if you can borrow the special paper which has not just articles on the artist and friends. It also has photos of all the exhibited tulip-related works of art. Children might love helping you discover these works, while walking through the various rooms.

The list of photos certainly helped me locate the Damian Hirst contribution – practically at the end of my visit. My hint: walk up the stairs. But only after visiting the rooms at the ground floor and then take the stairs leading down to the kitchen.

After admiring the kitchen, turn left and walk to the back past the uniforms of former servants. Take the steps to the door leading to the garden. Before you open the door, mind the warning “Puss must remain outside!”.(Oh, and the one about the outdoor steps and cobbles possibly being slippery.)

If pussy cat is anything like my now deceased one, I know why he or she has been banished from the house. He or she may also be into free expression, anarchistically creating three-dimensional modern wall-paper sculptures – using claws.

As many period houses, this one has several rooms with beautiful historic wallpaper. My favourite remains the garden-cum-breakfast room. Though the wall paintings from Drakensteyn Castle (where Princess Beatrix, the King’s mum now lives) are impressive too. Yes, the van Loon family knows Royalty, as all the photos in one of the front rooms on the ground floor shows.

Of course, once outside, you admire the garden. When I visited a few days ago, the bulbs were popping up, while cultivated orange tulips were flowering in large stone garden ornament. Nature is slowly awakening, but the formal garden does contain several kinds of Hellebore and a few other early and hardy bloomers.

At the back, in the former coach house, you can admire the family’s Berlin. Have a coffee or tea here, while admire the back of this wonderful canal house, before returning to it for your Damian Hirst hunt. Oh – and do not, simply do not forget to locate Gavin Turk’s own works! After all: Mr Turk was invited by the family to curate this exhibition and asked artist-friends to contribute. I rather loved the golden tulip as well as quite a few other modern works.

Museum van Loon; “Turkish Tulips” will be shown till the 29th off May 2017.

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