New Curator of Old Masters for Boijmans

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New Curator of Old Masters for Boijmans
Ruben Suykerbuyk. Courtesy Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen.

ROTTERDAM.- Ruben Suykerbuyk becomes the new Curator of Old Masters at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. Suykerbuyk succeeds Friso Lammertse who moved to the Rijksmuseum in April 2020.

In April 2021, Ruben Suykerbuyk (Antwerp, 1989) joins Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen as curator of old art. The field of expertise of the Belgian art historian and current post-doctoral researcher at the University of Ghent is old art from the Low Countries from the fifteenth to the seventeenth century and he knows the Boijmans collection well. In the museum and depot in Rotterdam the new curator will be occupied with research and the stewardship of the collection of Old Masters, which includes works ranging from Van Eyck, Bosch, Bruegel and Titian to Rembrandt and beyond. His predecessor Friso Lammertse left Rotterdam in April 2020 after twenty years.

Ruben Suykerbuyk: “I am enthusiastic about sharing my knowledge of art history and my passion with every museum visitor by combining a wide range of public communications with sound academic research. I look forward to the opening of the depot next year, and I’m honoured to be allowed to be part of the new Boijmans.”

Sjarel Ex and Ina Klaassen, directors of Boijmans: “We are delighted to add this enthusiastic curator to our team. We look forward to amazing exhibitions, research and love of the collection of old art.”

Art Historian
Born in Antwerp and raised in Essen, Ruben Suykerbuyk is a postdoctoral researcher in the theory and history of art. He did work experience at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna and the Royal Museums of Fine Arts in Brussels. Suykerbuyk has been awarded several prizes and scholarships, including the Rogier van der Weyden Prize (2012), the Dr Alfred & Isabel Bader Prize (2013), the James Loeb Fellowship at the Zentralinstitut fr Kunstgeschichte in Munich (2018) and a mandate from the Special Research Fund of the University of Ghent (2018-21).

He co-edited the book Art after Iconoclasm: Painting in the Netherlands (1566-1585), Turnhout (Brepols) 2012, and recently published the monograph The Matter of Piety: Zoutleeuw’s Church of Saint Leonard and Religious Material Culture in the Low Countries (c. 1450-1620), Leiden & Boston (Brill) 2020. Suykerbuyk is also a member of the editorial board of the art-historical magazine Simiolus, and has published numerous academic articles.

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s collection of old paintings and sculptures contains around 1,400 works by artists born before 1817 (the year Johannes Bosboom was born), with classical, geographical and chronological classifications of Dutch and foreign art from the fifteenth to the nineteenth century. This allows the museum to show Dutch art in a broader European context, focusing on reciprocal influence and exchange. Highlights include the unique ensemble of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Netherlandish paintings (Jan van Eyck, Jheronimus Bosch and Pieter Bruegel), which is at the heart of the exhibition and collection policy, seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish paintings (at five hundred works, the largest part of the collection) with masterpieces by such artists as Carel Fabritius, Gabriel Metsu, Rembrandt, Bartholomeus van der Helst, Pieter Jansz Saenredam, Rubens and Van Dijck and a number of important works of French and German art, including paintings by Barthlmy d’Eyck, and a panel by Drer. The museum also has a modest but superb quality collection of Italian paintings from the fourteenth to the eighteenth century, with work by Fra Angelico, Titian, Veronese, Tiepolo and Guardi. Nineteenth-century Dutch romantic art is also well represented.

The collection of old sculpture, which contains around three hundred objects, was the brainchild of Dirk Hannema, the museum’s director from 1921 to 1945. In 2014 an outstanding collection of mediaeval wood sculpture, primarily from the Southern Netherlands and once owned by Jacques Schoufour, was added to the collection. After those owned by the Rijksmuseum and Museum Catherijneconvent, the collection of mediaeval Western European wood and stone sculptures is now the most important in the Netherlands. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen also has an unusual group of sixteenth-century Italian bronze sculptures including work by Giambologna. This group of bronzes is extremely important to the National Collection.

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is an eclectic and unusual museum in the heart of Rotterdam. The museum introduces visitors to western art history from the Middle Ages to the present day. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen has a world-class collection, stands for freedom of expression, with respect for ideas and a challenging outlook. The museum achieves this by presenting art and design from the past and present in a lively and engaging way. The collection, research, documentation, restoration, conservation and exhibition policies run in parallel. The museum brings together knowledge and insights and offers everyone the opportunity to wander through art history, from the Middle Ages to the present day. A much-needed renovation of the museum began in 2019 and is expected to take seven years. The programme continues during this transition period and masterpieces from the renowned collection can be seen with some of our neighbours in Rotterdam and in school classrooms. The collection is also travelling to the world’s top museums. Meanwhile, the building of Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen moves on apace. The first publicly accessible art depot in the world, where the museum’s more than 151,000 artworks will be shown and cared for safely, will open in 2021.

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