Ger Luijten
© Yannick Pyanee

A tribute to Ger Luijten

The Salon du Dessin wanted to join the many tributes paid to Ger Luijten, director of the Fondation Custodia, who died suddenly on December 19, 2022.
A selection of twelve works chosen from among his acquisitions at the Salon, as well as from other participants in the Semaine du Dessin during his directorship, was presented on this occasion.

Fondation Custodia

Professor of drawing and art historian Ger Luijten became curator of the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam between 1987 and 1990, and then joined the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam as curator of the department of graphic arts before becoming its director in 2001.

Among his most important achievements are Dawn of the Golden Age: Northern Netherlandish Art, 1580-1620 (1993-1994), Antoine van Dyck and the Print and the highly original Mirror of Everyday Life: Genre Prints in the Netherlands 1550-1700.

On June 1, 2010, he succeeded Mària van Berge as director of the Fondation Custodia.

From the beginning of his career, he was the editor of the famous Hollstein series - indispensable catalogs raisonnés of Dutch and Flemish prints - and a member of several Dutch boards of directors and scientific journals. He participated annually in the vetting of TEFAF and the Salon du Dessin.

During his twelve years at the head of the Fondation Custodia, Ger Luijten played an essential role in the development of the Parisian institution, which is a key institution in the field of drawings, prints and artists' letters and autographs.

He never ceased to ensure that he remained faithful to the principles of Frits Lugt, its initiator, while at the same time leading an intense program of exhibitions, as many opportunities offered to the public to discover new aspects of the history of art.

Claude Hoin (1750 – 1817), Autoportrait, 1803

Claude Hoin (1750 – 1817)
Self-portrait, 1803
Pen and gray ink, white gouache highlights.
114 mm (diameter)
Fondation Custodia, Collection Frits Lugt, Paris, inv. 2014-T.11

Brilliant, benevolent and charismatic, Ger Luijten was unanimously appreciated and known in the aisles of the Salon du Dessin, by the dealers - with whom he maintained a warm relationship - or in the auction rooms.

A great connoisseur, his enthusiasm was infectious when he marveled at a work of art. His numerous purchases testify to his inquisitive mind and his desire to endow the Fondation Custodia's prestigious collections with the best possible works.

For example, he devoted himself passionately to collecting a group of oil sketches done in the open air, which now form a separate domain.

Cornelis Saftleven (1607 – 1681), Maison écroulée

Cornelis Saftleven (1607 – 1681)
Collapsed house
Black stone. - 195 x 301 mm
Fondation Custodia, Collection Frits Lugt, Paris, inv. 2018-T.1

For the graphic arts, significant sheets acquired during the Drawing Week were able to reinforce or complete the portfolios assembled by Frits Lugt and his successors.

Several of these were of Dutch and Flemish art, such as Perseus Fighting Phineus by Godfried Maes (1649-1700), an artist previously unrepresented in the collections, or the Collapsed House by Cornelis Saftleven (1607-1681), a striking image in perfect harmony with the taste generally attributed to the Dutch collector. His interest in botanical works is exemplified by the Malva Leaf by the still life painter Albertus Jonas Brandt (1788-1821).

The French School is amply enriched, and many of the leaves prove Ger Luijten's sensitivity to landscape drawings, especially those made on the spot. He actively sought out portraits - or self-portraits - of artists, just as he sought to collect the works of those he particularly liked, such as Josephus Augustus Knip (1777-1847) or Léon Bonvin (1834-1866), recently celebrated by an exhibition at the Fondation Custodia. Antoine Berjon (1754-1843) was also one of his favorites and the Hoopoe is one of his latest acquisitions.

The selection presented here reflects his choices, which were guided in particular by the poetry emanating from each of these leaves.

Josephus Augustus Knip (1777 – 1847), Vue de la maison de Buffon au Jardin des Plantes

Josephus Augustus Knip (1777 – 1847)
View of Buffon's house at the Jardin des Plantes
Gouache. - 450 x 605 mm
Fondation Custodia, Collection Frits Lugt, Paris, inv. 2014-T.5

Fondation Custodia, Collection Frits Lugt
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