Miffy is serious art @ the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

Cartoon in AD newspaper
Cartoon in AD newspaper

Dick Bruna (88) can measure up according to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam with greats like Vermeer, Mondriaan and Gerrit Rietveld. On the occasion of the sixtieth anniversary of Miffy, his most famous creation, Bruna therefore opened an exhibition in the museum.

On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Miffy the Rijksmuseum shows ‘Dick Bruna – Artist’, an exhibition in which the work of graphic designer and artist Dick Bruna is exposed for the first time in an international art historical context. Prints and drawings from Bruna’s great examples Henri Matisse, Fernand Léger, Willem Sandberg, HN Workman and Bart van der Leck appearing alongside his own book covers, posters, collages and drawings. In the presentation of a total of 120 objects can be seen, including Miffy itself.

Buttermilk campaign 1971
Buttermilk campaign 1971

More than half a century of graphics. Bruna’s distinctive style of clean lines, primary colors and abstract forms can be seen in his book covers to include the detective series The Shadow (Havank) and Maigret (Georges Simenon) from the Zwarte Beertjes (Black Bears) publications, posters for the publishing house AW Bruna & Zn. and the Dutch Milk Union and designs for Miffy.

Although Dick Bruna loves the work by artists such as Matisse, Léger, Workman and members of De Stijl, and is repeatedly mentioned in interviews as his artistic examples, this is the first time that the art historical theme in his oeuvre is made as extensive visible.

The Rijksmuseum studied the art historical connections with other artists and drew on the rich own print collection to show the relationships with other artists. Bruna’s creations put next to his inspiration, we can see at a glance the influence and inspiration. Bruna combines techniques such as cutting and the release of perspective, from the colorful French avant-garde with the harsh imagery and color palette of De Stijl. Conversely he admired Picasso, Rietveld and architect JJP Oud, in his folders and posters Bruna shows their simplicity and clarity.

NijntjeMuseumIn the presentation of a total of 120 objects is also considered in the design of Miffy. Nowhere is Bruna’s skill, patience and the ability to display color with the spaciousness of the flat surface, more clear than in the – seemingly simple – creation of the famous rabbit.

The exhibition Dick Bruna. Artist can be visited from August 27 – November 15, 2015 in the Philips Wing of the Rijksmuseum.

Nijntje is the Dutch name for Miffy.