Emily’s pick … Emily Ansenk

Emily’s pick … Emily Ansenk
Emily Ansenk for work by Loretta Lux, Hidden Rooms 1 and 2.

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 Emily Ansenk (Director of the Kunsthal Rotterdam, and incoming director of the Holland Festival)

What does art mean to you?

I can't imagine a life without art. I like to surround myself with works of art. Our house is full of works that we have collected over the years. They are just like old and new friends, whom you’re happy to meet every day.

Eric Berne, 2016, Emo Verkerk.

Did you get an appreciation for art from your parents?

My parents took us to cities throughout Europe from an early age. We always visited the old city centres and the churches, and also museums. My grandmother was often painting when we visited, and she showed us the most beautiful art books.

Where do you get your information about the ups and downs in the art world?

I am voracious reader when it comes to art and the art world: I visit websites such as,, every day, but I also read Dutch and foreign trade journals. I like to read books about art and artists, and like to watch documentaries on art and art-related topics.

Detail of two Squares, 2017, Jan van Munster.

Where do you prefer to look at art?

In museums, galleries, fairs, biennials, sculpture gardens and in other unexpected venues. I actually find visiting artists in their studio the most inspiring. You learn the most from just talking to an the artist, as it will give you a better understanding of the context and a greater appreciation of a particular work.

How many times a year do you buy art?

I got the first piece of art from my then boyfriend, now my husband. We have been purchasing art together ever since. We purchase at least one work per year, sometimes more often.

Near Next.Com, 2017, Rafaël Rozendaal.

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

I have never bought work online. We have purchased most works of art through a gallery, but also through the artist himself and a few at an art fair.

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

We tend to agree and fall for the same work. We’re quick decision makers, if we like something we buy it on the spot. Occasionally, we sleep on it for another night and visit the gallery once more. In the meantime, we can no longer hang nor store all the works in our home, but I find it hard to say goodbye to a work.

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

In Rotterdam I like to visit Cokkie Snoei, while in Amsterdam I have been friends with Rutger Brandt, Nico Delaive and Ron Mandos for decades. I have bought works at Torch Gallery, Fons Welters and at Hof & Huyser in the past.

solo, 2019, Michael Raedecker.

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

I would particularly like to have unlimited space, as that would allow me to place a large installation by Funda Gül Özcan next to Louise Bourgois’s Spider (Cell).

Who are your favourite artists?

- I love the work of Ellen Gallagher, because of her beautiful lines, choice of subjects and use of materials.

Emo Verkerk (Willem Baars Projects) en Helen Verhoeven (Stigter & Van Doesburg). While the work of both artists differs immensely, they both touch me by the way they conjure up an image with paint that is so striking, so telling.  

- We showed Jan van Munster in the Kunsthal in 2018’s Action-Reaction, 100 years of kinetic art exhibition. He was the only Dutch artist in that exhibition. 

Diana ontdekt de zwangerschap van Callisto, 2017, Helen Verhoeven.

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