Musea Brugge announced today that it received 1,930 drawings and 25 sketch books on long-term loan from the Jean van Caloen Foundation of the castle estate at Loppem (near Bruges). The foundation has entrusted the further care and administration of the collection to the Bruges Print Room, with effect from 17 May.
The drawings date from the late sixteenth century to the twentieth century and were collected primarily by Baron Jean van Caloen (1884-1972). Until now, the collection has been kept out of public sight. Its valuable works were only lent sporadically and in limited numbers.
Among the major highlights in the collection are a drawing of The Priest’s Blessing by Jacques Jordaens and a fine depiction of a young woman by the French master François Boucher. The absolute highlight of the collection is the magnificent Stoning of St. Stephen by Michelangelo, which is the only drawing of the Italian master currently held in Belgium. In addition to works by Italian and French masters, the Flemish, Dutch and Belgian schools are particularly well represented.
With this new acquisition, the Bruges Print Room will be able to add almost 2,000 drawings to its existing collection of some 20,000 works on paper. Musea Brugge will thoroughly investigate and study the drawings, in collaboration with leading specialists in their different fields. This research will result in the publication of a scientific catalogue for the collection, with special attention for the most important works. This publication will accompany an exhibition of works from the collection in the new exhibition space at BRUSK.
A small-scale exhibition of seven of the collection’s finest works in the Groeninge Museum will be organized to mark the loan agreement. These works will be on display from 17 to 22 May, after which they will be included in the Bruges Print Room. Once there, they will be registered and digitized in high resolution, before being made freely available to the public via Musea Brugge’s digital collection database.