Miffy at the Museum

In celebration of the sixtieth birthday of Miffy the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is presenting “Dick Bruna. Artist”, the first exhibition of the work of graphic designer and artist Dick Bruna (*1927) in an international art-historical context. Prints and drawings of the artists Henri Matisse, Fernand Léger, Willem Sandberg, H.N. Werkman and Bart van der Leck are on display alongside his own book covers, posters, collages and drawings which show his distinctive style of clearly drawn lines, primary colours and two-dimensional abstract forms.

The Rijksmuseum has researched the art-historical connections to artists such as Matisse, Léger, Werkman and members of De Stijl and selected works from its own extensive collection of prints to highlight Bruna’s affinities with these artists. By juxtaposing Bruna’s creations with the work of artists who inspired him, we instantly see these influences and inspiration. Bruna combines techniques from the colourful French avant-garde, such as cut-out and abandoning perspective, with the pared-down imagery and colour palette of De Stijl. At the same time, Picasso, Rietveld and architect J.J.P. Oud admired the simplicity and clarity of Bruna’s book covers and posters.

With a total of 120 items on display, the exhibition also sheds light on the design process behind Miffy. Nowhere is Bruna’s craftsmanship, patience and skill at using colour to illustrate spatiality in two-dimensional space more evident than in his – at first sight simple – creation of the world-famous rabbit.

The exhibition “Dick Bruna. Artist” can be visited until November 15th 2015 in the Philips Wing of the Rijksmuseum.

Download hint: The Belgian “ABC/ Art Basics for Children” center published a workbook about Dick Bruna with many illustrations and templates for simple craft projects made on the occasion of a former exhibition in Belgium. Download the PDF (4 MB) for free here