Rijksmuseum Twenthe - Het kunstmuseum van Enschede

New Taste

17 January to 21 August 2016 – From Jacob Jordaens to Damien Hirst, New Taste: The Art of Collecting in the 21st Century features many highlights of the Geert Steinmeijer collection.

Steinmeijer’s worlds

Geert Steinmeijer, an investor and highly successful exporter of garden furniture, is also a collector. He has been fascinated by art ever since his first purchase in 1993, and has now assembled a varied and world-class collection. The exhibition includes mediaeval religious painting, American abstraction and French salon art. Steinmeijer also collects contemporary art from Germany and China, two countries he knows well, and the event provides an insight into the various worlds in which he moves.

There’s no accounting for taste

With this exhibition, Rijksmuseum Twenthe reflects on developments in art collecting and the rise of a new, much more diverse and subjective taste. The boundaries between good and bad taste, and between high and low art, have gradually dissolved. Today, anything goes. More than ever before, beauty is in the eye of the beholder – but that doesn’t mean we should avoid discussing what we mean by taste. Visitors to this exhibition are challenged to think about their own tastes, just as Steinmeijer does.

Private collectors

Nearly all Dutch museum collections are based on private collections acquired over the course of time, and Rijksmuseum Twenthe is no exception. The works on display reflect the tastes of specific individuals. The first director, Jan Herman Van Heek, had a strong predilection for mediaeval art. Jan Bernard Scholten’s collection of works from the Hague and Barbizon Schools was typical of early twentieth-century Dutch tastes. Geert van Beijeren and Adriaan van Ravesteijn, the owners of the Art & Project gallery, had quite different tastes: they were among the first in the country to concentrate on conceptual art, and this was also reflected in their own collection. The tastes of all these individuals have shaped the museum’s current collection, as is shown in our exhibition The house of Heek.

The new collecting

Rijksmuseum Twenthe shows Geert Steinmeijer to be a new type of collector not limited by geographical and historical boundaries or to specific artists, styles, or schools. His collection includes traditional European painting and sculpture, and modern and contemporary art from all over the world. He is guided not so much by a single taste or preference as by an eclecticism spanning the entire history of art. This is also a global collection, with a particular focus on countries with emerging art markets where much remains to be discovered. Steinmeijer is also impulsive, guided by gut feeling, though he relies on expert advice to maintain the quality, authenticity and long-term value of his collection.


To accompany the exhibition, we have produced a unique, lavishly illustrated magazine devoted to taste and art collecting, including essays and interviews with Steinmeijer and other art professionals. This is available in the museum shop.