Museum for ceramic art
A unique collection of historical ceramic art and prominent exhibitions of contemporary art! Discover the talents of renowned artists from all over Europe! Be surprised by remarkable specimens of craftsmanship and the beauty of modern art executed in clay and porcelain.
The Tithe Barn collection is based on the red clay in the soil used to make coarse-ceramic products (such as roof tiles and bricks) and used by a number of potteries to produce functional ware. The oldest ceramic work from the collection dates back to the Romans (ca. 100 AD), while the latest ceramic work comes from contemporary artists from the 21st century, from the Netherlands and Europe.
This collection arose from an initiative in 1935 by George Goossens, director of the Russel-Tiglia company, to organise an exhibition with Tegelen Primitive Art. This collection and exhibition were considered special to such a degree that it was decided that it had to be kept together and made accessible to the public. This collection forms the basis of the museum collection. In 1936, the Tegelen antiquities' room was equipped as a permanent exhibition space for this collection. The collection was gradually expanded through donations and purchases by the local population.
The collection consists of finds in the Tegelen clay quarries such as fossils, celts, urns and Roman roof tiles, de oldest items dating back to 3000 BC. Furthermore, the collection especially consists of ceramics: Tegelen functional ware including kitchenware, crockery, potter’s tools, storage pots (of which the tobacco pots in particular are very special). The collection also contains works of art, such as ornamental stove top-pieces, religious statues, portraits and ornamental plates.
George Goossens’ view was that the craft of Tegelen Primitive Art should not be lost. Ca. 1936, he equipped, within his coarse-ceramic company, Russel-Tiglia, a fine-ceramic workshop where ceramic products were made manually on the basis of old-Tegelen techniques. A number of products from this workshop form the second part of the collection, the so-called second wave of Tegelen Primitive Art. This collection is still being added to with donations and purchases by the local population.
In addition to ceramics, this part of the collection also comprises drafts, photos and film footage. In 1971, this workshop was closed. The actual collection consists of ceramics: potter’s ware including crockery and kitchenware. Furthermore, we see religious objects here (including objects relating to patron saints, Christmas Groups, holy water fonts and small crucifixes); ornamental plates (usually made for special occasions such as weddings and anniversaries) and art objects. The lion’s share of this collection was produced in the Russel-Tiglia fine-ceramic workshop.
In 1971, the fine-ceramic workshop was closed due to insufficient proceeds and fierce competition from machine-made products and cheaper materials such as plastic. The department’s last manager, Mr Theo Van Rens, then equipped a workshop for courses using the workshop’s materials and equipment. Providing courses would enable the old-Tegelen techniques to be preserved. He also gave training to unemployed people who wanted to be retrained as ceramicists. One of these students, Niek Hoogland, became a professional ceramicist and is still working with the old-Tegelen techniques. He represents the third wave of Tegelen Primitive Art at the museum.
This sub-collection comprises ceramics produced by Tegelen ceramicists after 1971, the greater part consisting of work by Jacques Bongaerts, Wim Caus, Niek Hoogland and Harry Trienes. Here we find functional ware such as crockery and kitchenware, religious objects, but especially art and ornamental objects.