The Burlington Magazine

Recent acquisitions (2012–20) at the Fondation Custodia

February 2021

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15th July 2020 was the fiftieth anniversary of the death of the Dutch collector and art-historian Frits Lugt in the Place de la Concorde, Paris, not far from the apartment he had shared with his beloved wife, To Lugt-Klever, until her death the previous year. He was eighty-six years old and had remained active until the very end, acquiring works of art for the Fondation Custodia, which he and his wife had created in 1947, and organising exhibitions at the Dutch cultural institute in Paris, the Institut Néerlandais in the Hôtel Lévis-Mirepoix, a building that they had bought together with the Hôtel Turgot, home of the Fondation, in 1953.


Since Lugt’s death three successive directors of the Fondation, supported by a well-motivated board of trustees, have tried to act in his spirit in staging exhibitions, caring for the collection and buildings and developing an acquisition policy in line with his taste and ideals. His research project Marques de collections is continued online, where it has been welcomed with enthusiasm by thousands of users every year, and the art-history library has been enlarged with great dedication: readers are assisted in finding answers to their questions.


At the end of 2013 the Institut Néerlandais ceased to exist, as a result of a decision by the government in The Hague. Since then the Fondation Custodia has assumed a higher public profile, with encouraging results. An exhibition of master drawings from the Pushkin Museum, Moscow, in the spring of 2019, was the best-attended event ever staged by the Fondation. Here is a selection of acquisitions in various fields since the survey published in the February 2012 issue of the Burlington Magazine.

Ger Luijten, director