Louis Couperus Museum
The Louis Couperus Museum opened on 10th June 1996 in Albert Vogel’s former art gallery at 17, Javastraat, The Hague. It is devoted to work and life of Louis Couperus and it stages two exhibitions per year showing various aspects of his oeuvre. In the 20 years of its existence the museum has organised 41 exhibitions. The Louis Couperus Museum does not receive a grant from the Dutch government or the city of The Hague. It is a private museum which is financed by a small private capital, incidental sponsorship and gifts.
Louis Couperus (1863-1923) made his name at home and in the Anglo-Saxon countries with psychological novels such as The books of the small souls, The hidden force and Old people and the things that pass. From the age of forty onwards, the author was more and more inspired by classical antiquity. Couperus, who firmly believed in reincarnation, was convinced he had been an ancient Roman in a previous life. His best work in this respect, The mountain of light, on the rise and fall of the Roman emperor Elegabalus, became very popular in Germany. On the whole one can say that his psychological novels had more success in England and the USA, whereas his historical books were more appreciated by the German speaking public. Only a few of his works have been translated into French.
The work of Louis Couperus is so imaginative that it is has inspired film makers, theatre directors and art historians over the years. Themes are: passion and black magic in the former Dutch East Indies, early feminism, the decline of upper class culture around 1900, the happy hedonism of late classical antiquity and underneath all that – the omnipresent power of fate, that eats his characters from within.
In his novels, Louis Couperus uses references to the theatre, music, art, sculpture and contemporary literature, which the museum happily draws from for its exhibitions.
In 2016, it is 20 years ago that the Louis Couperus Museum was founded. This will be celebrated by means of an exhibition called From ZERO to Small Souls, telling the story of Albert Vogel’s former art gallery and its transformation into Louis Couperus Museum.