Bendor Grosvenor (chair)
Art historian, writer, TV presenter
Bendor Grosvenor will be the chair of the Monday lectures and statements at the Gemäldegalerie. During last year’s congress in Bruges, Grosvenor gave one of the lectures (click here to see his lecture). We are glad he accepted to be involved again in this year’s congress.
With a degree in English history and a PhD on The Politics of Foreign Policy: Lord Derby and the Eastern Crisis, 1875-8, Grosvenor started his career in politics, as adviser to several members of parliament in the UK. He then switched careers, and from 2005 until 2014 Grosvenor worked in the London art trade. He now has his own company, specializing in establishing the authenticity of paintings by Old Masters. Additionally, Grosvenor is a member of the Lord Chancellor’s Advisory Council on National Records and Archives, and of the Lord Chancellor’s Forum for Historical Manuscripts and Academic Research.
Grosvenor often can be seen on British television shows. From 2011 until 2016, he appeared in the BBC1 series Fake or Fortune, the BBC’s highest-rated fine art program. As of 2017, he presents the BBC4 series Britain’s Lost Masterpieces with art historian Jacky Klein.
Deputy Director at the Bode Museum
Julien Chapuis has been Deputy Director of the Bode Museum in Berlin, since 2008. He studied art history at the universities of Groningen and Indiana, writing a PhD thesis on the Cologne painter Stefan Lochner (ca. 1400-1452). From 1997 until 2007 he was Curator of Medieval Art at the Metropolitan Museum, during which time he organized an exhibition on the German sculptor Tilman Riemenschneider (ca.1460-1531). In Berlin, he curated the exhibitions The Lost Museum: The Berlin Painting and Sculpture Collections 70 years after World War II (2015) and Beyond Compare: Art from Africa at the Bode Museum (2017).
Julien Chapuis’ lecture will be on the man after whom the museum at the tip of Berlin’s Museum Island is named, Wilhelm von Bode (1845-1929), who worked for nearly fifty years for the Royal Prussian Museums. From Chicago to Saint Petersburg his name became synonymous with the Berlin museums. The lecture addresses the following aspects of Bode’s complex relationship with America: Bode’s relation with American collectors, his contribution to Kaiser Wilhelm II’s cultural ambitions in the United States, and the gradual adoption of Bode’s method of presentation in American museums.
Lecturer at the University of Bern
Johannes Rößler is art historian with research interests in the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries. His work explores the methodical approaches of early scholars in art history, as well as the classical tradition in the arts and art theory. He is also interested in the history of collections, history of connoisseurship, in provenance research and in the history of prints and drawings. Rößler currently works on the ‘afterlife’ of ancient ornaments in the castles in Dessau-Wörlitz as well as the culture of illustration in the twentieth century (in particular that of Max Beckmann). Rößler was research fellow and lecturer at the University of Bern, the Klassik Stiftung Weimar, and the Passau University. Since January 2018 he is Privatdozent (outside lecturer) at the University of Bern.
Johannes Rößler will talk about the rediscovery of early Netherlandish painting in the nineteenth century, when Berlin was one of the major places of research and connoisseurship. The lecture examines early approaches to northern art of the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance, with special reference to the differences as well as the similarities in the concepts of several philosophers and scholars such as Friedrich Schlegel, Wilhelm Heinrich Waagen, and Heinrich Gustav Hotho.
Head of Education and Digital Collection, Städel Museum
As Head of the Städel Museum’s Education and Digital Collection department, Chantal Eschenfelder is involved with the museum’s digital strategy and is responsible for developing strategies to transfer methods and practices of art education into the digital realm. The main focus of her educational work is to present the art museum as an active platform for visitors of diverse backgrounds and expectations. Museums are also subject to society’s upheavals, which fundamentally change how we deal with information, education and culture. The Städel Museum has set out to participate actively in this transformation, and to make use of technological developments for all of its core museological tasks.
Eschenfelder’s lecture will be on what the future holds for museums in terms of digital possibilities. Starting from her experience at the Städel Museum, she will share her views on the digital developments in the museum world, and how we can get the most out of the possibilities that digital media offer.
Journalist, and Chief Editor of Ons Amsterdam
Koen Kleijn is an art historian and the current art critic of De Groene Amsterdammer, one of the Netherlands’ oldest and most respected weekly magazines. He is editor of Ons Amsterdam, a monthly devoted to the history of the city. He has previously worked for organizations such as the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, the Netherlands’ public broadcaster NTR and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. He is part-time Artistic Director of Museum Het Grachtenhuis in Amsterdam.
In 1925, Frederik Schmidt Degener, Director of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, had the walls of the museum painted white. His museum had hitherto been a vast and colorful depository of anything and everything that was deemed relevant for the country’s cultural history, but no more, said Schmidt Degener: the museum should be a place ‘of high devotion’. He banned children from the halls: ‘It’s foolish to make children suffer for things that are well above their little heads.’
Since then, displays of ‘old art’ have undergone many and massive transformations, catering to the educated elite and the mesmerized millions. Curators are wont to complain, saying their institutions value commerce over content, quantity over quality. Have they lost sight of who they’re actually meant to serve?
Curator of Medieval Art at Museum Catharijneconvent
Micha Leeflang studied technical art history at the University of Groningen, where she defended her dissertation Uytnemende Schilder van Antwerpen. Joos van Cleve: atelier, productie en werkmethoden in 2007. From 2005 to 2007 she was on the staff of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam as curatorial researcher. Since 2007 she has been a curator at Museum Catharijneconvent in Utrecht, where she was responsible for exhibitions such as Surviving the Iconoclasm, Medieval Sculpture (2012-2013), The secret of the Middle Ages in gold thread and silk (2015), Holy Scripture – Tanakh, Bible, Koran (2016) and Magical Miniatures (2018).
In her lecture, Micha Leeflang addresses the changes that she has observed in the curatorial profession since she started working in the field. She signals a shift from the traditional museum curator, who focused on the permanent collection and prioritized research, to an exhibition curator, who participates in documentaries, hosts press events, and lectures for a wide variety of audiences. In addition, the financing of museums is more and more related to the number of visitors, and exhibitions are the main way to attract crowds. Where exhibitions used to be mainly the responsibility of the curator, nowadays the influence of other departments such as Education and Marketing has become more apparent. Micha Leeflang will talk about what these developments mean for the profession of the curator.
Curator of Old Masters at M-Museum Leuven
Peter Carpreau is the Curator in charge of the Old Masters and collection department of the M-Museum, Leuven. He was also responsible for the reinstallation of the museum’s collection presentation in 2017. Carpreau studied art history at KU Leuven and Paris-Sorbonne University. His research focuses on perception, visual literacy, and the value of art. His recent exhibitions include Power and Beauty, the Arenbergs (2018), Crossing Borders: Medieval Sculpture from the Low Countries (2017), Edgard Tytgat, Memory of a much-loved window (2017) and Michiel Coxcie, The Flemish Rafael (2013).
Peter Carpreau will elaborate on the way M – Museum presents their collection. The basic curatorial principle is based on visual awareness and developing visual literacy among their visitors. The collection is displayed in five thematic clusters, transcending historical boundaries and removed from their historical context. Classical distinctions between old and contemporary art have disappeared. Carpreau will discuss the motivation behind choosing the visual over the historical in a curatorial context.
Curator at the Amsterdam Museum
Imara Limon is curator at the Amsterdam Museum, where she curated Black Amsterdam (2016); and Black & Revolutionary: The Story of Hermine & Otto Huiswoud (2017) an initiative of The Black Archives. She developed the multi-year research program New Narratives that is aimed at making the museum more inclusive. Limon has a background in contemporary art, museology and cultural analysis and studied at the University of Amsterdam. She is an advisor to art funds, board member of cultural advocacy group Kunsten ’92, and winner of the Dutch National Museum Talent Prize 2017. From July to August 2018 she was curator-in-residence at the International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP) in New York.
Imara Limon will take her experience at the Amsterdam Museum, where she is involved in the multiple-year research program New Narratives, as a starting point for discussing how to reflect our global society, consisting of many interwoven identities and histories, in the programming of museums. In a Dutch context, museums are only beginning to self-identify as institutions with a specific western (art) historical canon rather than universal places of knowledge. Bringing in contemporary views through guest tour guides, focus groups, and contemporary artists who engage with (im)material heritage provides new insights on missing perspectives, and simultaneously adds to the collections.