Stijn Alsteens appointed as director of the Fondation Custodia
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Stijn Alsteens appointed as director of the Fondation Custodia
Stijn Alsteens, new director of the Fondation Custodia. © David Atlan.

DOORN.- The Board of the Fondation Custodia announced the appointment of Stijn Alsteens as its new director. In the spring of 2024, he will succeed Ger Luijten, who died suddenly in December 2022.

Stijn Alsteens, born in Leuven (Belgium) in 1976, is a leading expert of old master drawings, especially those from the Low Countries, and currently head of the department of Old Master Drawings at Christie’s. Previously, he was a curator at the Fondation Custodia in Paris (2001-2006) and at the Department of Drawings and Prints of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (2006-2016). His knowledge and broad experience, his international career and his enthusiasm for old master drawings and prints make him ideally suited to pursue the work of Frits Lugt and his successors at its customary high level. Expanding the collection, facilitating its access to researchers and sharing it with the widest possible audience will continue to be paramount objectives.

Alsteens studied Russian and art history in Leuven and Amsterdam. He published numerous scholarly articles and reviews and participated in exhibitions in European and American museums. Among his most important publications are Paysages de France dessinés par Lambert Doomer et les artistes hollandais et flamands des XVIe et XVIIe siècles (2008); his contributions to the catalogues of Man, Myth and Sensual Pleasures. Jan Gossart’s Renaissance (2010), Dürer and Beyond. Central European Drawings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1400-1700 (2012), and Grand Design. Pieter Coecke van Aelst and Renaissance Tapestry (2014), all three accompanying exhibitions at The Metropolitan Museum of Art; to Pleasure and Piety. The Art of Joachim Wtewael (2015), an exhibition in Utrecht, Washington and Houston; and to Dürer’s Journeys. Travels of a Renaissance Artist (2021), in London and Aachen. In addition, he was responsible for Van Dyck. The Anatomy of Portraiture, an exhibition at The Frick Collection in New York (2016). At Christie’s, auctions organised under his direction included Lucas van Leyden’s Young Man Standing (2018), Leonardo da Vinci’s Head of a Bear (2019), Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s Young Woman Dozing (2021), Michelangelo’s Nude Man and Two Figures behind (2022) and Jean-Baptiste Oudry’s Album of Illustrations for the Fables of Jean de La Fontaine (2023), which set world records for these artists.

Stijn Alsteens: ‘The Frits Lugt Collection has shaped me as an art historian more than any other place, and it is a great honour for me to return there now as director. The works of art that Frits and Jacoba Lugt-Klever brought together during their long lives, constantly enriched after their deaths, will continue to be a source of inspiration for the programme of exhibitions, publications and acquisitions that I will try to develop from now, together with the Board and staff of the Fondation Custodia. Lugt remains an example not only as a scholar and connoisseur, but also as a passionate art lover, and I look forward to sharing his wonder with a wide audience – in Paris and far beyond.’

The Fondation Custodia is a Paris-based foundation under Swiss law governed from the Netherlands, founded in 1947 by the Dutch collectors couple Frits Lugt (1884-1970) and Jacoba Lugt-Klever (1888-1969) in order to preserve their collection, known as the Frits Lugt Collection, and to continue their activities. The collection includes paintings, prints, artists’ letters, old and rare books, Indian miniatures, antiquities and Chinese porcelain, but is best known for its invaluable holdings of drawings by old masters. With some twenty-five permanent staff members, the Frits Lugt Collection continues to expand through an active acquisition policy. It organises exhibitions on a wide range of subjects linked to the focal points of its own collection, produces catalogues and other publications, maintains an intense international loan policy and contributes to the training of young art historians with an interest in old master drawings and prints. Both the collection and the extensive art library are accessible to art historians and other interested parties. It also continues Frits Lugt’s pioneering work on collectors’ marks by means of the database Les Marques de collections de dessins et d’estampes (

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