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Alexander’s pick…

Alexander’s pick…
Alexander Ramselaar: "The first work I bought: from Jean Marc Spaans, in 2000."

In this section we let a selection of art lovers – from occasional buyers to art professionals – talk about their perception of art and preferences: where do they want to see art? Where do they purchase art, and above all: from which artists do they buy? Below, an interview with Alexander Ramselaar (Backing Grounds founder and art collector, 51)

What does art mean to you?

The reflection on and interpretation of everything that is going on around the world and beyond. Without Borders. Artists always open my eyes and stimulate my mind.

Did you get an appreciation of art from your parents or did you have to find your own way?

My parents took me to a wide range of museums, in the places along the IJsselmeer and North Sea coast where we sailed, or in the cities that we visited throughout Europe. That simply belonged to my upbringing. They purchased art as well.


Edward Burtynsky, Railcuts #1, C.N. Track, Skihist Provincial Park, British Columbia, 2003, Torch Gallery.

Where do you get your information about the ups and downs in the art world: newspaper, trade magazines, television, online?

Pretty much everywhere, actually. Of course, there are the well-known sources for raking information together, but the fields of art are so wide. From film to books to fashion. They are parallel worlds that also interlock.

Where do you prefer to look at art? In a gallery, museum, exhibition or online?

The tranquility of a museum, institution or gallery remains unsurpassed. Nothing can beat a well-curated exhibition. There is often so much vision, attention and refinement from the artist, gallery owner or curator. At home I feel privileged for that daily dialogue with a work.

How many times a year do you buy art?

Every year I buy one major work. Usually a sculpture or installation, after thorough research and consideration. Along the way, I mainly purchase photography.


Robby Müller, During Mad Dog and Glory, Chicago, 1991, Annet Gelink Gallery.

And where do you buy: in the gallery, at an art fair, at an auction or online?

Almost always at a gallery, sometimes from an artist. You must see and feel a work. With photography I dare to buy it online, but only if I am familiar with the material qualities the work in question.

Is it important that you and your partner always agree on a purchase?

Not at all! Ultimately, it’s an individual choice, I think. Art does not lend itself to compromises. Fortunately, the walls at home have never been claimed for 50%!

Is there a gallery with which you have a special relationship?

The programming at Annet Gelink and Wilfried Lentz have fascinated me over the years. Also, the programmes of Fons Welters and Ellen de Bruyne, for example. They dare to stand behind an artist at an early stage in their careers. Over the years they have followed their hearts without compromise and make strong choices.


Jan van Munster, Brainwave, 2004, Galerie van den Berge.

If you had an unlimited budget, from whom would you purchase a work?

My wallet cannot keep up with what my eyes and mind see throughout the year. If money really does not play a role, I would like to catch up with the works of some of the seminal figures from the Arte Povera movement. I would also like to pick up a Hiroshi Sugimoto or a Diane Arbus at Paris Photo.

Who are your favourite artists?

Ed van der Elsken, Robby Müller and - recently - Michael Wolf all passed away too early. They were able to capture the image of daily life at home and abroad. I have multiple works from them, and will continue purchasing their work. Maybe it is my wanderlust that draws me to them.

Wouter Paijmans is building an interesting oeuvre, which plays with our consumerism, by using original and ready-to-wear clothing.

In 2003, I cycled through Los Angeles for ten days, passing by Imperial Courts as well. It felt only logical to purchase a diptych from Dana Lixenberg. Mother and daughter, photographed at about the same age, implying that in the meantime, their chances in life haven’t improved.


Yael Bartana, The Undertaker, 2019, Annet Gelink Gallery.



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