The grand historical building originally housed the Fine Arts Circle of the Dutch East Indies (Nederlandsch-Indische Kunstkring of the Dutch East Indies) and was opened on the 17 April 1914. This organization was founded for the first time on 1 April 1902 in Batavia, with the purpose to promote the practice of and the enthusiasm for the fine and decorative arts of the Indies.
This building had various functions, as it stayed faithful to its mission to promote anything related to the arts. It featured various creative arts between 1934 and 1939 as well as world-class masterpieces of Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Paul Gauguin, Marc Chagall and the likes. One of the wings of this building also housed a very popular café that sold fine food and wine, known as Stam en Weynes.