The Syllabus

Twenty Contemporary Painters from the Philippe Dotremont Collection, Brussels

Twenty Contemporary Painters from the Philippe Dotremont Collection, Brussels

Contributions by Paul Fierens and James Johnson Sweeney
Published in 1959
20 pages, fully illustrated

In 1959, the Guggenheim Museum organized an exhibition of selected contemporary works from the collection of the Belgian collector Philippe Dotremont. Museum director James Johnson Sweeney celebrates the opportunity to display such a respected collection of fine art in his introduction to the accompanying catalogue. The catalogue also includes a posthumous essay by Paul Fierens, the Director of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium and friend of Dotremont. Fierens describes the history and nature of the collection and Dotremont’s uncanny ability as the “architect” of a collection. The catalogue also includes selected reproductions of works in the exhibition and a list of artists with brief biographical details.


The true artist is always the explorer. His broad field of exploration is the seemingly illimitable sea of human expression. His islands are always "beyond" until he finds them, discovers them for us—and leaves them for other islands beyond. And a collector who teams up with the truly creative artists of his day, as Georges Salles has suggested in an appreciation of the Philippe Dotremont Collection, becomes also an Argonaut.

Dotremont, as Salles says, does not collect for the sake of amassing works of art, but to freshen his view, "to go forward and enjoy a risk." And I remember the two impressions from his collection which I carried away from my first visit: the quality of his individual examples and its maker's courage of choice.

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