Drawings from the Fondation Custodia and the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen


from 22 March to 22 June 2014

This exhibition offers the public the chance to admire pairings comprising drawings belonging to the Fondation Custodia (Frits Lugt Collection) and notable sheets from Rotterdam’s Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. It is a unique occasion to confront drawings by a single artist, sheets with a stylistic relationship, or drawings whose subjects generate exciting comparisons.

Stefano da Verona
Samson killing the lion
Pen and brown ink, 278 × 197 mm
Paris, Fondation Custodia, Collection Frits Lugt, inv. 1339

Examples include two views of a courtyard drawn en plein air in strong sunlight by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, probably coming from the same album and radiating the same summery atmosphere. It seems that the well in the Rotterdam drawing is no other than a close-up of the structure visible through the gate of the Tiepolo drawing conserved by the Fondation Custodia. It could very well be that the two sheets were drawn during the same session and in the same place.

Some of the sheets from the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen come from the collection gathered by the intrepid Franz Koenigs (1881–1941). A banker by profession, Koenigs was, between 1921 and 1930, the foremost collector of drawings on the international market. Frits Lugt (father of the Fondation Custodia) described him thus: “He was prepared to pay any price, provided it was an exceptional sheet, and his eye, his flair and the speed with which he took decisions amazed everyone who knew him.”

The exhibition, Dialogues: Drawings from the Fondation Custodia and the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, includes the ultimate depiction of the insatiable collector’s gaze that characterized both Frits Lugt and Franz Koenigs – The Collector by Daumier –, paired with a watercolour by Henri-Joseph Harpignies with a view in his studio. A total of 40 drawings is confronted, namely by Cosmè Tura, Vittore Carpaccio, Pontormo, Rubens, Rembrandt, Boucher, Fragonard, Watteau, Goya, Delacroix, Monet, Cézanne, Signac, and Jongkind.