Art for a few euros

If you have ever wanted to own an original painting but never had the funds to purchase one, here is a golden opportunity: this week, 360 pieces of art will be auctioned off at the RUG.
By Wigger Brouwer / Translation by Sarah van Steenderen

It concerns art (mainly paintings) that were made during the BKR, the Beeldende Kunstenaars Regeling (a government allowance for artists). They have either been on display in rooms and hallways in buildings at the RUG for years or were in storage somewhere. Now, the storage space needs emptying.

The auction started on Monday and will end on the evening of 24 April. Art lovers and other interested parties can view the art pieces on auctioneering firm Omnia’s website and bid on the art (bids start at 5 euros). There will be an opportunity to see the pieces at the Zernike campus in the weekend of 22 and 23 April. While 360 pieces will be auctioned off, a small number will be donated to the Groninger Museum.

Rolf ter Sluis, curator of the University Museum, is happy that the art will go to new homes. ‘Storing art costs money and benefits no one. This way, people who value the art get to enjoy it.’


The art pieces date back to the period of the Beeldende Kunstenaars Regeling. This arrangement, which gave artists an allowance in return for art pieces, existed between 1956 and 1987. The artists in turn provided their pieces to the municipality.

The idea was good (the artists had room to work on their art), but in practice, the BKR was not a success. To this day, many municipalities still do not know what to do with the large amount of art pieces in their possession. The quality is also lacking at times: some artists would slap together a painting just to be able to get their allowance.

Whether the BKR pieces at the RUG are any good is up to the average visitor to decide, says Rolf ter Sluis. ‘There is no prescribed code of what constitutes good art. Whether you appreciate the painting, drawing or printing technique, or the composition or the subject all depends on your own perspective, experiences, and emotions. And if you’re lucky, it’s relatively affordable.’


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