CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

European Society for Nineteenth-Century Art (ESNA) founded

In the Netherlands, a network of professionals working in the field of European art of the long nineteenth century. Read their mission statement, more information and upcoming events below. Please also consult the Society’s website:

The European Society for Nineteenth-Century Art (ESNA) is a platform formed under the auspices of the Dutch Postgraduate School for Art History (Onderzoekschool Kunstgeschiedenis). ESNA was founded by a group of scholars, graduate students and museum professionals based in the Netherlands whose research focuses on European art of the long nineteenth century. ESNA’s aim is to provide a forum to promote the exchange of ideas in this field, to support and encourage graduate research, and to enhance networking opportunities for participants. ESNA seeks to contribute to, and foster debate on, nineteenth-century art through the organization of an annual symposium, workshops, excursions, the invitation of visiting speakers, and the co-ordination with other organizations and groups devoted to the study of the nineteenth century. Although originating in the Low Countries, ESNA aims to create a broad international network for the advancement of research into all aspects of nineteenth-century European art.

The steering committee is comprised of Jan Dirk Baetens (Radboud University Nijmegen), Maite van Dijk (Van Gogh Museum), Rachel Esner (University of Amsterdam), Mayken Jonkman (RKD), and Jenny Reynaerts (Rijksmuseum). Sanne van der Maarel has recently taken up the post of secretary following Alba Campo Rosillo’s departure for the United States to pursue her doctorate at the University of Illinois.

Our first conference – Boundaries and Bargains: Uneasy Alliances in Nineteenth-Century Art – was held in Amsterdam on 22 and 23 May of this year (at the University of Amsterdam and the Van Gogh Museum, respectively). Recurring themes were internationalism, networks, the image of the artist, and feminism. With a total of 30 speakers from Europe, the United States and Canada, the conference provided insight into various facets of the art-historical research currently carried out in the field of nineteenth-century art. The symposium was attended by around 100 scholars and the lectures were well received.

Website and contact list

We are busy building a website ( that will keep you up to date on our latest news and activities, but also on related events outside the Netherlands and Belgium. We expect to be online by 1 November 2013.

One of the goals of ESNA is to become a network of art historians and others with an interest in the nineteenth century. To achieve this, we would like to set up a contact list via our website


If you would like to be added to this list, please send an email to providing your contact details, including your name, mailing address, email address, place of work, position, and area of specialization. Please also indicate if we may publish your personal information on the website.

Upcoming events

The Hague, 31 January 2014
Museum and University – Looking for the Nineteenth Century Together?
CFP deadline for submission: 28 October 2013
Language: Dutch

In 1999 The Clark Institute organized the conference The Two Art Histories: The Museum and the University. During this symposium and in the resulting publication by Charles Haxthausen (2002), the often tense relationship between the two principal protagonists of the art historical discipline was a subject of debate. Many museum professionals believed that university-based art history focused too much on theory and the social agency of art, neglecting the aesthetic dimensions of the art object. Equally, many academics felt that museums had become preoccupied with the quest for money and audiences, making them an increasingly unlikely source of innovative scholarship.

On 31 January 2014 ESNA and the research platform XIX, in collaboration with the RKD, will organize a one-day seminar around this theme, in which both approaches to nineteenth-century art will be discussed, and the possibilities for future collaboration between museums and universities explored. The morning will be reserved for speakers with experience in both fields, among others Werner Adriaenssens, curator at the Royal Museum of Art and History (Brussels, Belgium) and professor at the Vrije Universiteit Brussels and Chris Stolwijk, director of the RKD The Hague and former head of art at the Van Gogh Museum.

The afternoon will be devoted to several workshops in which individuals will be invited to present their research, exhibition concept or project to a small group of colleagues from both the museum and the university. These workshops will provide an opportunity for other specialists to “think along” and for the project organizers to receive feedback. The aim is to create a new synergy and a closer and more positive relationship between the museum and the university. For more information see the attached call for papers.

Ghent, 16-17 May 2014
The Turbulent Mind: Madness, Moods and Melancholy
CFP deadline for submission: 13 December 2013
Languages: English and French

On 16-17 May 2014, ESNA, the research platform XIX and the Museum of Fine Arts in Ghent will organize a two-day conference at the museum under the title The Turbulent Mind: Madness, Moods and Melancholy in the Art of the Nineteenth Century. The conference will take place in conjunction with the Théodore Géricault exhibition at the Ghent museum (22.02.2014 – 25.05.2014), and will explore the role and representation of mental states in nineteenth-century art. A call for papers will be distributed shortly.


As we are a new organization we would very much like to know what you think we should be doing. If you have any suggestions, comments or information you would like to share, please email us at