CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

CODART TIEN Congress: workshops and excursions


(1) Technical research and the museum curator: possibilities and limitations.

The work and knowledge of the curator in technical research is becoming more relevant. Therefore it is necessary to create an accessible, more transparent overlap between these two disciplines to improve the collaboration. What are the possibilities and developments for collaboration, as well for the curator as for the restorer? And in a broader view: how can museums exchange ideas and knowledge in the field of technical research?

Chaired by Edwin Buijsen, curator research and technical documentation, Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistorische Documentatie, The Hague.

(2) The exhibition catalogue: curse or blessing?

The exhibition catalogue is fulfilling an increasingly important role within the dispersal of scientific knowledge and for that reason it must satisfy to high -scientific- standards. Meanwhile the exhibition catalogue is often the only instrument for a scientist to publish. Without the exhibition catalogue it will almost be impossible to publish art historical publications. On the other hand, the role of the exhibition catalogue is therefore overrated and should not be more than an adequate -public- guide for the exhibition.

Chaired by Axel RĂŒger, director, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.

(3) Professionalizing the muses: in how far do curator studies matter?

A growing number of universities all over the world propose a specialised training in museology, curatorial studies or museum management as a subsidiary course. On the other hand, France has a longstanding tradition of compulsory museum-oriented studies for future curators. Do curators, in fact, need to know about management, communication, budgets and so forth or is a sound academic training in Dutch or Flemish art the best prerequisite for future CODART colleagues? The workshop addresses these issues with the French situation – much discussed outside France, but mostly without muck knowledge of the system – as a starting point.

Chaired by Manfred Sellink, director, Musea Brugge, Bruges.

(4) The “authentic” interior: toward the limits of ambition.

Many curators not only have to deal with (Dutch and Flemish) paintings but with complete interiors. In many relatively small museums, for instance, the paintings on the walls are the result of the former inhabitant’s collecting skills. The Wallace and Frick Collections are among the most famous. In other cases, the house was once owned by a painter, like the Rubens- and Rembrandt houses. This workshop will focus on the fragile settings of these house museums. Special attention will be given to the visitors’ impact on the museum and its collection, in other words: the inevitable cohabitation between the historical aspects of the house and its use as a museum that wants and needs to attract visitors.

Chaired by Stephen Hartog, consultant, Insitituut Collectie Nederland, Amsterdam.

(5) Curator in a small museum: ambitions and challenges.

(Relatively) small museums with limited staff and small collections seem to have problems of their own. How important is it to organise exhibitions, publish collection catalogues or make new acquisitions to keep attract the attention of the public? What is the role of a curator in a small museum: researcher or manager? This workshop aims to detect and discuss the specific difficulties of curators in smaller museums. Especially curators from small museums are invited to join, but curators in larger organisations or curators with a relatively small collection of Dutch and Flemish art within large museums (where other schools are more prominent) are also asked to tell about their experiences.

Chaired by Helen Wustefeld, director, Kasteel-Museum Sypesteyn, Loosdrecht.


École Nationale SupĂ©rieure des Beaux-Arts

The École Nationale SupĂ©rieure des Beaux-Arts was heir to part of the collections of the former AcadĂ©mie royale. These included the archives and inventories of the academy of painting and sculpture; engravings of a number of works painted for admission to it; books and drawings presented to the AcadĂ©mie or projects submitted for its approval; models collected for teaching purposes; works that had won the annual Prix de Rome and the various monthly competitions; as well as assorted other objects. The aim of the collection is to provide documentation and models for students studying architecture, painting and sculpture. The collection includes illustrated books, theoretical works, periodicals, prints, manuscripts, photographs and drawings.

There is a remarkable collection of nearly 15,000 master drawings, dating from the 16th to the 19th centuries, with the French, Italian and Northern Schools well represented. The curator, Emmanuelle Brugerolles, will make a selection of the most interesting Dutch and Flemish works from the collection to show to the CODART members.

Palais du Luxembourg

The Palais du Luxembourg was built by Salomon de Brosse under the auspices of Maria de Medici (1615). At her request, the architect looked for inspiration to the Palazzo Pitti in Florence. In 1621 Maria de Medici commissioned Rubens to paint 21 allegorical works on the subject of her life. These paintings are now in the Galerie MĂ©dicis in the Louvre, but the monumental staircase where they once hung is still extant. The Palais du Luxembourg also houses a number of paintings by Delacroix. In addition we will also pay a visit to the so-called Salon du Livre d’Or, still decorated with its original 17th-century paneling and paintings (among them several by anonymous but possibly Flemish artists), works which once adorned Maria de’ Medici’s own apartments. The most spectacular work on view, however, are the ceiling paintings by Jacob Jordaens in the library, which originally came from the artist’s house.

The Palais du Luxembourg, seat of the French senate, is normally open to the public by appointment only.

HĂŽtel Lambert

The famous HĂŽtel Lambert (1639-44) on the Île Saint Louis was designed by architect Louis Le Vau and decorated by Charles Le Brun, Eustache Le Sueur and Gerard van Opstal. The painters worked on the decorative scheme for almost five years, producing the allegorical works that ornamented the grand Galerie d’Hercule and the smaller Cabinet des Muses and Cabinet de l’Amour. Unfortunately, the paintings themselves have since been dispersed.

The magnificent building is now owned by the Rothschild family who restored it. It is not normally accessible to the public, but will be opened on this occasion for a small group of CODART members. On view will be the works created especially for the HĂŽtel Lambert by Herman Swanevelt and Jan Asselijn, as well as gold-leather wall coverings thought to have been painted by a student of Rembrandt.

Petit Palais, Collection Dutuit

The Petit Palais, built in 1900, houses the musée des Beaux-Arts of the city of Paris. In 1902 the brothers EugÚne (1807-1886) and Auguste (1812-1902) Dutuit donated their collection of more than 20,000 artworks to the Petit Palais. The collection provides an encyclopedic overview of the history of art, from ancient Egypt to the 18th century. Paintings, drawings and prints by Dutch and Flemish masters form the core of the collection. It includes works by Meindert Hobbema (paintings and drawings), Adriaen van Ostade (paintings and watercolors), Rembrandt (a painting and drawings) and Jacob van Ruisdael (paintings), among others.


Fondation Custodia / Collection Frits Lugt

The Frits Lugt Collection in Paris comprises an extraordinary assembly of drawings, prints, artist’s letters and paintings. The bulk of the collection was brought together by Frits Lugt (1884-1970)and his wife Jacoba Klever (1888-1969). In 1947 they transferred their holdings to the Fondation Custodia. The magnificent 18th-century HĂŽtel Turgot in Paris was purchased ten years later to house the collection. The Fondation Custodia is not a museum but an intimate study collection, open by appointment only. Acquisitions, publications and exhibitions are an integral part of its mission. Located at the same address is the Institut NĂ©erlandais, also founded on Lugt’s initiative.

The core of the collection is formed by around 7,000 drawings, as well as over 30,000 prints. A unique and surprising component of the collection is the store of artist’s letters. Totaling around 40,000, it is considered one of the best of its kind in the world. Finally, the Fondation Custodia houses around 300 paintings, with works by Pieter Saenredam, Jacob van Ruisdael and Jacobus Vrel, among others.

Participants will be divided into four groups. Accompanied by director MĂ ria van Berge-Gerbaud and curators Hans Buijs and Rhea Blok, we will be introduced to the various aspects of the collection. MĂ ria van Berge will also be our host of the dinner given by the Fondation in honor of CODART.

MusĂ©e du Louvre and École du Louvre

In the middle of the 17th century, Louis XIV began assembling the collection of paintings that would in time form the nucleus of the Louvre. The king was predominantly a collector of Italian paintings and throughout the 18th century French royalty continued to show little interest in late medieval or Renaissance Flemish painting. This changed in the revolutionary period. Confiscation and secularization removed a number of so-called primitives from churches and religious establishments; together with works seized in conquered lands these were eventually housed in the MusĂ©e central des arts in Paris, which opened in 1793. On 7 June 1795, just a few months after the French invasion to the Netherlands, revolutionaries laid claim to Willem V’s most noteworthy art treasures, thereafter transporting them to Paris. A large number of paintings were returned to the Netherlands in 1815; some, however, have remained in the Louvre. Most of the plundered works from other collections were also returned to their original owners in 1815, although a few remained in the Louvre.

A policy of acquisition of paintings from the Low Countries began in earnest in the 19th century. Among the earliest of these purchases were two wings of a triptych representing St. John the Baptist and Mary Magdalene, bought at the 1851 sale of the important collection of paintings assembled by King Wilhelm II of the Netherlands. Over the years many Dutch and Flemish works entered the museum as gifts.

The visitor’s guide published in 1995 states that there are 865 paintings of the Northern School on display in 39 rooms and cabinets. During the congress it will be possible to visit at least part of this extensive collection under the guidance of curators Blaise Ducos and CĂ©cile ScailliĂ©rez. Together with the head of the drawings collection, Carel van Tuyll, we will also have the opportunity to see a selection of works on paper. A small group will also be offered the chance to see the Jordaens cartoons currently in storage.

The congress plenary session on Monday morning, 12 March, will take place in the École du Louvre, the museum’s institute for higher education in the fields of archeology, epigraphy, art history, history of civilizations and museology, and the training ground for many French curators.

Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art

The Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art (INHA) was founded as a public corporation in 2001, with the aim of promoting scholarship on a national and international level in the areas of art history, archaeology and cultural heritage. It conducts research, provides training, and disseminates knowledge through a variety of activities and publications. The INHA complements the French institutional system by bringing together and providing a home for scholars and institutions that focus on training and research into art and art-historical issues.

The INHA is located in the famous covered passage known as the Galerie Colbert, opened in 1827. Lunch will be served in the festive Rotonde Colbert. There will also be an opportunity to take a tour of the INHA facilities preceding the members’ meeting.