CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Research and presentation of Mimara Museum’s Dutch painting collection: seeking collaboration

Leila Mehulic

A substantial number of Dutch paintings in the Mimara Museum in Zagreb are still in need of reliable attributions. In 2011, in association with the Croatian Conservation Institute, the first technical investigation of these paintings was initiated since the collection was established. Researching their preservation, material, painting technique characteristics, as well as determining the scope of prior interventions will precede a more in-depth art historical analysis and attribution and the completion of historical and archival research. The results of the investigation require interpretation by experts in the respective fields. And, finding such partners is critical for the completion of the project.

Discoveries about the works of art could be presented in an exhibition and catalogue of the entire collection, which would include interpretations from an art historical perspective as well as interpretations of the technical research results in terms of materials and painting technique. Such an objectivist approach imposes a need for allocating equal amount of space to great masters and imitators, which, however, might undermine the very criteria of art history.

Jacob Gerritsz. Cuyp (1594-1652), Portrait of a woman, Muzej Mimara Zagreb


The key questions I wish to ask at this Market table are:
– What essential insights into technical research methods should a curator have?
– What are the prospects of collaboration between a peripheral museum, such as the Mimara Museum, and key institutions conducting technical analysis of works of art?
– What should the structure be of a catalogue presenting the entire collection and the technical research?

Gerbrand van den Eeckhout (1621-1674), Ruth en Boaz, 1661, Muzej Mimara Zagreb

About Leila Mehulić

Leila Mehulić received her M.A. in Archaeology and Art History from the University of Zagreb, Croatia. Since 2002 she has curated contemporary art exhibitions and worked as an arts journalist for Croatian radio and television as well as numerous newspapers and magazines. She was employed as a curator at the Mimara Museum in Zagreb in 2005, and was appointed Senior curator of Dutch, English, German and Italian Painting in 2011. She is particularly interested in researching the 17th and 18th-century Dutch paintings in the Mimara collection.

Leila Mehulić has been a member of CODART since 2009