CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Case studies

Aimee Ng

The Frick Collection, New York
Aimee Ng is Curator at The Frick Collection, New York. A specialist in Italian Renaissance art, she has organized exhibitions on early modern painting, sculpture, and drawings, including shows on Bertoldo; Parmigianino and Moroni; and European portrait medals. Recent projects focus on British art, including the work of Turner, and Gainsborough, and contemporary art in the context of Old Master painting, such as Barkley L. Hendricks: Portraits at the Frick, and Living Histories: Queer Views and Old Masters, which brought together figurative works by Jenna Gribbon, and Toyin Ojih Odutola with paintings by Holbein, Rembrandt, and Vermeer.

Moving the Frick: From Mansion to Modernist Museum (and Back Again)
The renovation of The Frick Collection’s historic buildings on New York’s Fifth Avenue prompted the museum to temporarily relocate to the Breuer building, originally constructed in 1966 for the Whitney Museum of American Art, as Frick Madison. This paper explores the experience of moving the Frick’s historic European paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts from the museum’s Gilded Age mansion to Marcel Breuer’s icon of Brutalist architecture, and the challenges and opportunities of reinstalling the art collection back in its enhanced historic home.

Bernd Ebert

Alte Pinakothek, Munich
Dr. Bernd Ebert has been Chief Curator for Dutch and German Baroque Painting at the Alte Pinakothek in Munich since 2013. He has co-curated diverse exhibitions and edited catalogues, including Utrecht, Caravaggio and Europe with the Centraal Museum in Utrecht and Jacobus Vrel with the Mauritshuis and the Fondation Custodia, Frits Lugt Collection in Paris. He started his career at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (National Museums in Berlin) in 2005, co-curating the exhibition Circle Sphere Cosmos at Pergamon Museum.

Old Masters on the Move – New Presentation of the Permanent Collection
Who says artworks can’t go on blind dates? The Upper Gallery of the Alte Pinakothek is now home to completely new groupings of paintings, creating utterly unaccustomed encounters and scintillating dialogues. In re-hanging the permanent exhibition of the collection, some two hundred paintings have been moved to different places. Throughout the Upper Gallery rooms, they now engage in new encounters opened up by unexpected contexts. Featuring dialogical juxtapositions and thematically arranged clusters of works, the new display invites visitors to rediscover familiar masterpieces. For the first time in the history of the Alte Pinakothek, the traditional hanging scheme, developed along chronological and geographical lines, has been consciously challenged, resulting in a considered reordering of the display. Many of the museum’s best-known works, previously shown in separate galleries far apart, are now close neighbors, despite belonging to different epochs and styles. Their unusual juxtaposition reveals hidden parallels and directs our attention to rarely thematized connections and shared qualities. This generates new perspectives on the paintings and their creators, on the content and form of the images, as well as on the contexts in which they were produced.

Photo: Rob Stevens

Marjan Debaene

M Leuven
Marjan Debaene is Chief Curator of Old Masters at M Leuven. She is an expert on late Gothic Brabant sculpture and painting. She published M’s first sculpture catalogue in 2014 and curated several exhibitions and collection presentations for M, including Sculptures from Bruges (2015), Plein Air (2015), Crossing Borders: Medieval Sculpture from the Low Countries (2017), Borman and Sons (2019), and Alabaster (2022). She also serves as the coordinator of Ards, the platform for medieval sculpture. Marjan studied Art History and Cultural Studies at the KU Leuven. Her doctoral research, entitled What’s in a name? Leuven sculpture re-examined focuses on sculpture produced in Leuven around 1500.

Something Old, Something New… Searching for New Meaning in M’s Museum Collection
In 2017, M Leuven changed its permanent presentation of masterpieces to a dynamic ensemble of frequently-changing collection exhibitions. There were three key objectives: to achieve a better valorization of the vast and diverse collection, to promote interaction with the public, and to incorporate space for experiment and research in the museum galleries. The advantage of this new approach is that many lesser-known objects from the depot are now displayed, in addition to masterpieces that can be viewed in a different light. M experimented both on a museological-scenographical level and in terms of curatorial approach, all the while maintaining a fast pace. After five years of working in this way, M will present its new collection exhibition in June 2024, with a thoroughly sustainable and transhistorical reflex, and showing multiple perspectives and a multiplicity of voices. The new approach will take into account the lessons learned, which will lead to “slower” curating on several levels. By presenting the recent curatorial practice, this paper will illustrate how curators can navigate the challenges posed by changing views in the museum sector and work co-creatively with colleagues, as well as dealing with the increasingly digital organization of today’s art sector. Finally, it will show ways of giving the old fresh meaning by confronting it with the new – whether in art, technology, or new audiences.

Hanna Klarenbeek

Paleis Het Loo, Apeldoorn
Hanna Klarenbeek is curator of paintings, prints, and drawings at Het Loo Palace, Apeldoorn. She took part in the recent refurbishment of the period rooms and the new exhibitions of the collection. She studied art history at Utrecht University, gaining her PhD there in 2012 on the strength of her dissertation on women artists: Penseelprinsessen & broodschilderessen: Vrouwen in de beeldende kunst 1808-1913. She previously worked for the RKD (Netherlands Institute for Art History) and taught art history at Radboud University and the University of Amsterdam. She publishes on a wide range of subjects relating to Dutch art, focusing on female artists and art related to the Dutch royal family down the centuries.

The Interiors of Paleis Het Loo: Continuous Improvement
Het Loo Palace opened its doors in April 2022 after a four-year renovation. This was followed – a year later – by the underground extension of the seventeenth-century building, which was built in Apeldoorn for William III, Prince of Orange and stadholder of the Dutch Republic, and his wife Mary II Stuart. In the centuries that followed, stadholders, kings and queens used it as a summer palace. In 1984, it became a museum. The latest renovation provided additional museum spaces. As a result, it was decided to change some of the period rooms in the palace. Given the desire to furnish these rooms as authentically as possible, some were moved or given a facelift to show a different layer of time. At the same time, storytelling was introduced. The focus shifted from the art-historical value of the objects in the interiors to those who had resided in the palace. Some of these plans proved more successful than others. After less than a year, it was decided once again to make major alterations to some of the seventeenth-century rooms.

Suzanne van de Meerendonk

Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen’s University, Kingston
Suzanne van de Meerendonk is the Bader Curator of European Art at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre at Queen’s University. She received her MA from the University of Amsterdam and her PhD from the University of California, Santa Barbara. At Agnes, Suzanne has curated the exhibitions Studies in Solitude: The Art of Depicting Seclusion (2021-2022) and The Fabrics of Representation (2022), among other exhibitions. She previously worked at the Picker Art Gallery at Colgate University, The Art, Design & Architecture Museum at UC Santa Barbara, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. Her curatorial interests focus on intersectional and transhistorical approaches to the presentation of historical European art.

The Bader Collection and Agnes Reimagined
In the spring of 2024 the Agnes Etherington Art Centre closed its doors to accommodate a new building project under the header of Agnes Reimagined (to open in 2026). This, as Agnes Director and Curator Emelie Chhangur describes it, “is a long-term social practice project, with architecture as its medium and the curatorial as its methodology … a proposition from which new museological practices emerge.” Within this methodological framework, temporary exhibitions will remain the preferred vehicle for engagement with our permanent collections, but both curatorially and spatially our approach will change. The European art collection, including our renowned Bader Collection, will no longer be tied to one dedicated gallery, but will instead be presented in varying exhibition spaces to suit the changing needs of different exhibition concepts. Supported by expanded galleries, as well as increased room for community programming and artistic residencies, the new facility will also offer more opportunities to activate collections through transhistoric and cross-cultural conversations. Let’s imagine for a moment what this may look like.