CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Peter van den Brink new director of the the Aachen City Museums

Peter van den Brink has been appointed Director of the Aachen City Museums, including the Suermondt Ludwig Museum. He will start his new job on March 1, 2005. From 1997 he has been active as Curator of paintings and from 1999 as Chief Curator of the Maastricht Bonnefantenmuseum. He will have five different museums to lead, the most well-known the Couven Museum and the Suermondt Ludwig Museum.

The Suermondt Ludwig Museum is by far the most important, certainly regarding the interest of CODART members. The museum was grounded in 1883 after Barthold Suermondt left his huge collection, including many late gothic sculptures, to the so-called Museumverein, that was then already in existence. The present location, the city palace of the industrialist Eduard Cassalette, became available after the latter’s death in 1901 and was then expanded to house the fast growing collection, primarily from rich Aachen citizens. The Suermondt Museum changed its name in the 1970’s, after the well-known collector Peter Ludwig left his collection of old master paintings to the city. Although the collection is still extremely rich, many paintings were taken as war booty by the Russians at the end of the Second World War. At present these paintings, primarily Dutch and Flemish, are in Kiev. The present developments there are looked upon slightly differently by the Museum Staff.

The main body of the collection is 15th-17th painting and sculpture. Especially the sculpture collection, including a large body of Lower Rhine and Brabantine sculptures are very well-known, but on the other hand the rich collection of early Netherlandish- and German painting as well as the large body of 17th-Century Flemish and especially Dutch painting needs more attention. Highlights in the painting collection are paintings from Pieter Aertsen, Jacob Cornelisz van Oostsanen, Master of Frankfurt and Master of Delft, Aelbrecht Bouts, Master of the Virgo inter Virgines, Cornelis Engebrechtsz, Rembrandt, Willem Kalff, Frans Snyders, Willem Claesz Heda, Govert Flinck, Anthonie van Dyck and many many others. Apart from that the museums holds a beautiful collection of early medieval applied arts and an interesting collection of 18th, 19th- and early 20th-Century painting. Finally the print room is well known because of its huge print collection, with many high quality woodcuts and engravings by Albrecht Dürer. At present the graphic oeuvre of Dürer is on display in the exhibition Dürer, the Apelles in black and white, on view in the Suermondt Ludwig Museum until January 23 2005.

The previous director, Ulrich Schneider, left Aachen for the Kunstgewerbemuseum in Frankfurt in 2003. Under his guidance the museum staff made some marvellous exhibitions, like Gegen den Strom, on the Lower Rhine sculpture, or exhibitions on painters like Kupetzky and Stosskopf. These are the types of exhibitions Peter van den Brink will continue to make in the future.