For its reopening, the newly renovated and enlarged Villa Vauban
exhibits in collaboration with the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam a prestigious selection of 80 paintings from both the Luxembourgish and the Dutch collection: those from the Villa Vauban, the origins of which go back to Jean-Pierre Pescatore, comprising i.a. works by David Teniers the Younger, Jan Steen and Gérard Dou, as well as selected paintings from the Rijksmuseum collection with works from Frans Hals, Paulus Potter, Govaert Flinck, Jan van Goyen and Jacob van Ruisdael. Engravings from the collections of the Von der Heydt-Museum Wuppertal round out the exhibition. Furthermore, the tight bonds between Luxembourg and the Netherlands during the 19th century are illustrated by documents from the Koninklijk Huisarchief of The Hague.
The new museum was designed to reflect the specificity of its collection of paintings originally acquired by wealthy private collectors in the 18th and 19th century. Its core structure, an urban villa from 1873, was redeveloped under the supervision of architect Philippe Schmit of the Luxembourg-based office Diane Heirend & Philippe Schmit architectes, whose contemporary extension engages in a stimulating architectural dialogue with the historic building.
The museum complex is located in a park designed by the French architect Édouard André (1840 - 1911), one of the leading landscape planners of his time. Extensive refurbishment works will recover the park's original design, thus allowing visitors to explore historic works of art in a quiet and relaxing setting in the heart of the city.
The exhibitions at the Villa Vauban will draw on the collection of the City of Luxembourg, whose focus lies on Dutch painting from the Golden Age (17th century) and 19th-century French history and landscape painting. The collection is further enhanced by European paintings, sculptures and drawings from the 17th to the 19th century.
The museum's collection finds its origins in the 19th century, when Jean-Pierre Pescatore, Leo Lippmann and Eugénie Dutreux-Pescatore, three influential local figures, bequeathed their private collections to their home city. A tobacco merchant before he established himself as a banker in Paris, Jean-Pierre Pescatore (1793 - 1855) devoted his fortune to building up an emblematic collection of art. Like most bourgeois of his time, he collected mainly 17th-century Dutch painting and contemporary French history painting as well as sculptures and drawings.
The collection of Leo Lippmann (1808 - 1883), a banker and Consul General of Luxembourg in Amsterdam, focused on 19th-century art, more particularly on established history painting.
The third body of works was bequeathed to the City of Luxembourg in 1903 by Eugénie Dutreux-Pescatore (1810 - 1902), who had inherited her collection of 18th-century history paintings, still lifes and portraits from the pharmacist Jodoc Frédéric Hochhertz ( 1786). The character of the collection is thus significantly influenced by these bequests. They provide a unique insight into the collecting practice of the upper bourgeoisie during the late 18th and the 19th century and comprise works from the Golden Age of Dutch painting (17th century) by artists such as Cornelis Bega, Gerrit Dou and Jan Steen as well as French history and landscape painting from the 19th century by the likes of Eugène Delacroix, Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier and Jules Dupré.
Instead of a permanent display, the Villa Vauban will accommodate a range of varying exhibition formats allowing it to highlight different aspects of its collection.
Presentations will thus be structured around four constantly changing exhibition modules:
Welcoming international Collections
Various aspects of the collection will be highlighted through a series of thematic exhibitions that will include loans from internationally renowned collections.
The second module reflects on the origins of the art at the Villa Vauban by addressing the phenomenon of collecting in general and the figure of the private collector in particular. It plans to direct visitors' attention to contextual issues such as the history, the circumstances of acquisition and the contemporary perception of the art on display.
Works in the Spotlight
The highlights of the collection will be presented in cabinet displays, which will allow this module to focus on the artist, the subject and its connections to contemporary literature, or the history of the work's reception.
The Life of Paintings
The fourth exhibition module will explore the secret life of paintings from the collection, dealing with aspects such as restoration, historic context, origins and painting techniques.