American art meets Dutch art

Bonnie Klap
Art & Music 3.369 views

A unique exhibition of American-Dutch Art took place at the residence of His Excellency Mr. Timothy Broas, Ambassador of the United States of America, as part of the ‘Art in Embassies’ Program of the State Department. This program was established in 1963 in collaboration with the Museum of Modern Art and was formalized by President John F. Kennedy.

Surrounded by the most beautiful works of art, Ambassador Broas welcomed his guests and emphasized the very active role that the State Department had played in promoting American Art in Europe that embodied energy, freedom and dynamism. He was particularly proud of the piece by Willem de Kooning. The Ambassador is an avid story teller and shared a fascinating personal anecdote about the way in which he was able to finally acquire the De Kooning painting. It was a tale of persistence, persuasiveness and luck, but it obviously had been very much worth it. The Ambassador’s passion for art was obvious as he mentioned several of the pieces at his residence.

Impressive pieces were the objects made by the Dutch-born American artist, Sarah Couwenberg and which are inspired by the collars of the 17th Century Dutch paintings. The  American-Cambodian artist Pakan Penn has a special place in the Ambassador’s heart as the two are also friends.

After the Ambassador Mrs. Ellen Susman, Director of the Art in Embassies Program, took the floor and explained how art often is a conversation starter. ‘Art as smart power,’ according to Mrs. Susman. She also praised the Ambassador’s keen interest in and knowledge of art. “It is unusual for an Ambassador to have much interest in art and it is often passed on to the wives,” she laughed. Mrs. Susman then walked the guests along the works of art, sharing some of her extensive knowledge about the pieces.

All in all it was an impressive exhibition of both American and Dutch Art, or, as Ambassador Broas eloquently put it: “A transatlantic cross-fertilization between American and Dutch artists.”

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