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A Search for the Universal: The Axel & May Vervoordt Foundation

Axel and May Vervoordt believe that art has the intrinsic power to change lives and shed new lights on past, present and future. This vision is woven into each of the 356 pages in A Search for the Universal. The publication of this book is based on the Foundation’s belief that sharing art with as many people as possible can be

The collection showcases the Vervoordt's unique taste and includes pieces from various periods and cultures, from archaeology to contemporary art. Interest in issues of time, space and the concept of emptiness form the basis of the collection, which continued to grow over more than 50 years out of an intuitive curiosity and genuine bonds of friendship with the artists.

The 167-page image section shows the highlights of the collection through stunning photographs by Laziz Hamani and Jan Liégeois. Each work is depicted full-page and offers a dialogue with the other works, a conversation unfolding between East and West, Ancient and Contemporary. At the back of the book, a complete legend offers art-historical explanations of each work. Above all else, A Search for the Universal tells a story: about the qualities the Vervoordt’s seek in art, about how art has enriched their lives.


Axel Vervoordt himself writes: 'Art is my teacher. What characteristics do I look for in art? Several terms come up when I describe the works from the Foundation. Strength. Silence. Serenity. Harmony. Beauty. Originality. Timelessness. Light. Space. Peace. Positive energy... Most important is the freedom of expression and how it affects you.'

Grandjean's essays Time Past and Time Future and Crichton-Miller's Dialogues with History at the Palazzo Fortuny lend new insights to the collection and to the series of exhibitions in Venice, which introduced Vervoordt's vision as a curator to the international art world: Artempo, Academia, In-Finitum, TRA, Tàpies, Proportio and Intuition.

Axel and May Vervoordt created the Foundation in 2008 to preserve the values of their heritage. The exhibitions in Venice bear witness to this, and the works of art in the collection are their ambassadors. Their intention is to preserve the collection, so that it can continue to inspire future generations.

The book reveals the collection of the Axel & May Vervoordt Foundation, much of which is not physically visible to the public. With this book, the Vervoordt’s aim to inspire art lovers, curators, artists, students, friends... They hope that the works represent the artists and the strength of the collection in its entirety.

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