CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide


Frans Grijzenhout

University of Amsterdam
Frans Grijzenhout is professor emeritus of art history at the University of Amsterdam (retired 2022). He worked for years as a curator of exhibitions for the Dutch government, a consultant to Dutch museums, and Director of the State School for Conservation. He has published widely on the relationship between art and politics in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, on the early history of the Rijksmuseum, and on the concept of heritage. In more recent years he has focused on studying individual artworks from the Dutch seventeenth century, like Jan Steen’s Burgomaster of Delft and Vermeer’s Little Street.

Old Masters, New Questions
Ever since the nineteenth century, the public image of Dutch identity has been shaped in relation to its lost “Golden Age”. National, local, and provincial museums have highlighted key aspects of Dutch art and culture. Although the self-styled image of the Dutch Republic as a miracle of wealth and tolerance has been critically corrected over the past few decades, the quality of the art production itself during the “long seventeenth century has never been seriously disputed. Still, new questions are being raised on aspects of its representation of society, on the economic, social, and financial foundations of the art production, and on the supposed autonomy of the aesthetic domain. How does this reflect on the installation and presentation of Dutch art from this period in museums in the Netherlands and elsewhere?

Pepijn Wilbers

Studio Louter, Amsterdam
Pepijn Wilbers is Partner and General Director at Studio Louter. He holds an MA in history as well as social history from Erasmus University in Rotterdam.  He has twenty years of experience in the museum sector and has transformed Studio Louter into a successful content design studio specializing in museums. His expertise lies in developing innovative museum exhibition concepts. His extensive portfolio includes collaboration with renowned institutions such as the Museum Hof van Busleyden, Teylers Museum, Mauritshuis, Trinity College Dublin, Rijksmuseum Boerhaave, M Leuven, Titanic Belfast, and EYE Film Museum.

Designing a Story for a Museum – Lessons Learned
A story can be seen as a construct that requires deliberate design. This concept, known as content design – a discipline centered on narrative – has increasingly become an explicit and conspicuous element of the exhibition design process. Pepijn Wilbers, a founding partner of Studio Louter, an agency specializing in content design for museums, has worked on creating a wide range of permanent exhibitions over the past fifteen years.

The process of designing a story is an intimate and deeply personal journey intricately linked to a museum’s identity and its aspirations. In this presentation for CODART 25, Pepijn will share his insights as a guiding presence on these journeys, highlighting the valuable lessons learned, both for the museums with which he has collaborated and for himself as an external advisor.

Martin Olin

Nationalmuseum, Stockholm
Martin Olin is the director of collections at the Nationalmuseum, Stockholm, and an associate professor of art history. Between 2013 and 2015, he served as assistant director of the Swedish Institute in Rome. He was responsible for the seventeenth-century galleries in the exhibition of works from the collection at the re-opened Nationalmuseum (2018). He has published on early modern architectural drawings, with special reference to Nicodemus Tessin the Younger; Swedish portraiture; seventeenth-century French and Italian drawings; and nineteenth-century Scandinavian painting and its historiography. In 2020, he curated the exhibition Arcadia: A Paradise Lost at the Nationalmuseum, which focused on the classical landscape in painting, drawings, and prints from the Renaissance to Neo-Classicism.

Rethinking and Remaking the Seventeenth-century Galleries at the Nationalmuseum
The renovation of the Nationalmuseum took place between 2013 and 2017. The exhibits from the collection were installed during 2018, with the museum opening to the public on 13 October. The concept for the chronological display was to show paintings, sculpture and applied arts together rather then keeping to a strict division into national schools. Martin Olin headed a team including the curators Carina Fryklund, Eva-Lena Karlsson, and Micael Ernstell as well as the scenographer Henrik Widenheim. Together they selected seventeenth-century works and decided how they were to be shown. This paper will discuss the process, discarded ideas, problems, solutions, further developments, and the diverse principles and thoughts behind the present exhibition at the Nationalmuseum.