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‘De Bijzondere Band’ – An exhibition of Dutch Art Nouveau book bindings

‘Huis van het Boek/Museum Meermanno in The Hague exhibits book bindings by leading Dutch Art-Nouveau artists from the period 1890-1910. The exhibition will be open from March 22 to June 23 2019. The title of the exhibition is De Bijzondere Band: Art Nouveau-boeken van Dijsselhof, Lion Cachet en Nieuwenhuis.

Art Nouveau book bindings

Dijsselhof, Lion Cachet and Nieuwenhuis were pioneers of Dutch book design in this period. As part of the Art Nouveau movement, they elevated book design to an independent art form. Some great examples from Museum Meermanno’s collection will be supplemented by books from the Royal Library, Leiden University Libraries (UBL) and the Dutch Royal Archives. The exhibition is curated by Freek Heijbroek, former keeper of the Rijksprentenkabinet, and Kasper van Ommen, employee of the Special Collections of the UBL.

Prospectus voor de Verzamelde opstellen - L. van Deyssel.
Prospectus voor de Verzamelde opstellen - L. van Deyssel.

Major highlights reunited

Despite the fact that the Art Nouveau style of book design never really caught on and turned out to passing fancy in the art world, the period yielded some intriguing and exceptionally beautiful book bindings. Among other pieces, De Bijzondere Band will exhibit a hand-coloured copy by Dijsselhof of Walter Crane’s The claims of Decorative Art (1892). Book design was not the only occupation of these three artists. An entire cabinet, designed by Nieuwenhuis full of ornate portfolios will be on display as well. Contemporaries also feature in the exhibition, for instance some beautiful book designs by the Dutch-Indonesian painter Jan Toorop, Antoon Derkinderen and Richard Roland Holst, all from the collection of Leiden University Libraries.


As part of the theme of the exhibition, a number of activities will be organised in collaboration with Museum Meermanno. An ‘Art Nouveau Festival’ will take place in The Hague between June 5th and June 10th 2019. As a part of the festival, a number of workshops will be organized in the museum’s Print Shop, as well as lectures and guided tours. 

Nederlandse almanak 1894
Nederlandse almanak 1894
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