The RKD has recently managed to obtain an unusual legacy: the archive of the restorer Jef Van der Veken, who was notorious for the numerous fakes he made in the style of the Flemish Primitives as well as being widely praised for his expert skills as a conservator. His masterpiece is without a doubt the copy of the panel of The Just Judges, which was mysteriously removed from the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb Altarpiece in the Saint Bavo Cathedral in Ghent in 1934. This impressive retable was painted in the fifteenth century by the brothers Hubert and Jan van Eyck. Since the stolen panel was never retrieved, Van der Veken’s copy is still part of the altarpiece today.
On 8 september the RKD has started crowdfunding to reach the final sum needed.
Exclusive visit for donors to the conservation studio of the Ghent Altarpiece and The Just Judges in the Saint Bavo Cathedral, Ghent
Van der Veken’s archive offers a revealing insight into his working practice. It is of vital importance that the material is preserved for further research. Unfortunately, we are still slightly short of the total sum required to buy the archive and we are therefore asking for your support. If you donate €1000 now, you will receive an exclusive visit to the conservation studio in the Ghent Museum of Fine Arts, where the spectacular conservation of part of the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb Altarpiece is currently underway. In addition you will be offered a unique opportunity to take a close-up look at the copy of The Just Judges that Van der Veken painted to replace the panel that was stolen in 1934. The glass cage surrounding the Ghent Altarpiece in the Saint Bavo Cathedral will be opened up just this once for our donors. On Thursday 13 November we will also organise an exclusive presentation of special items from the Van der Veken Archive at the RKD in The Hague, to which you are cordially invited. The presentation will be given by RKD curator Suzanne Laemers.