Dick Bruna at Rijksmuseum

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© Courtesy of the Artist and Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
Dick Bruna at Rijksmuseum

Museumstraat 1
1071 XX Amsterdam
July 5th, 2011 - August 29th, 2011

Museum Area
+31 (0)20 6747000
Sun-Sat 9-5


Graphic designer, illustrator and author of children’s books Dick Bruna (1927) has agreed a long-term loan of a selection of his work to the Print Room of the Rijksmuseum, the national museum of the Netherlands. His designs for paperback covers, advertising material and children’s books, obviously including Miffy, cover the period from 1953 to 2007.

The Rijksmuseum has selected over 120 creations on paper from Bruna’s body of work. The selection includes famous designs such as the Zwarte Beertjes paperback covers (Havank, Charteris and Simenon) from the 1960s and 1970s, advertising campaigns (the poster for buttermilk with the slogan ‘Karnemelk, omdat ’t zo fris is’ [‘Buttermilk, because it’s so refreshing’]) and final drawings in poster paint for the book ‘Circus’. Visitors can follow the entire design process for the book Miffy’s Letter, because the museum has obtained design sketches and fully developed drawings as well as unused drawings as part of the loan. Bruna used ink, pencils and poster paint to produce his drawings and sketches. Collage techniques were also employed on a regular basis, especially in Bruna’s book cover designs. 


Marijn Schapelhouman, Senior Curator Drawings:

       ‘In recent months I have studied Dick Bruna’s work in great detail. Because my original specialism is classical art, I tend to look at contemporary art from a classical-art perspective, focussing on the craftsmanship, how the work was created. What strikes me about Bruna’s work is the careful approach, the calm deliberation with which the work was created. It is art that is the result of weighing the pros and cons, turning things this way and that, looking and then looking again and eventually leaving out as much as possible. In all its apparent simplicity, it is the work of a perfectionist’.

Annemies Broekgaarden, Head of Education & Public Information:

        ‘People of all ages are touched by the power of Dick Bruna’s images, from Europe to Japan, from China to the US. Using work by Dick Bruna and inspired by 17th century masters, our new workshop takes young visitors on a quest for the essence of the image, its meaning and its eloquence’.

Children can take part in the walk-in workshop The Secret of Dick Bruna at the Rijksmuseum from 23 July to 28 August inclusive. Inspired by Bruna’s work, the workshop teaches the children how to create a stamp featuring the silhouette of a bird. The idea is that children learn to look for the essence of a shape. With thanks to ING. The workshops are sponsored by Louis Vuitton.

Dick Bruna paid a special visit to the Rijksmuseum, where he met with the museum's staff and inspected the work he has loaned to the Rijksmuseum. Photos of this visit can be seen on the Rijksmuseum Facebook page.


dick bruna huis

The dick bruna huis, a permanent feature of the Centraal Museumin Utrecht, displays a permanent, themed selection of Dick Bruna’s applied work, from initial sketches to Miffy books. To mark the fifth anniversary of the dick bruna huis, the Centraal Museum has asked national and international fashion designers to create a new party dress for Miffy. The extension of her wardrobe can be seen up to and including 22 January 2012 in the ‘Miffy in Fashion’ exhibition.