After cutting ties with Russia, a Hermitage Museum outpost rebrands

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Wednesday, June 19, 2024

After cutting ties with Russia, a Hermitage Museum outpost rebrands
The Hermitage Amsterdam in Amsterdam, Oct. 14, 2020. The Hermitage Amsterdam broke away from its St. Petersburg mother ship and will now be called H’Art Museum, presenting works from the Smithsonian, the Centre Pompidou and the British Museum. (Ilvy Njiokiktjien/The New York Times)

by Nina Siegal

AMSTERDAM.- In March 2020, a week after Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the Hermitage Amsterdam museum severed ties with the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.

The decision was a “moral” one, Hermitage Amsterdam Director Annabelle Birnie said in an interview. But it had major practical consequences for the museum, which had been founded in 2009 as a kind of satellite of the Russian institution.

Without the link to St. Petersburg, the Hermitage Amsterdam was adrift, without an identity or art to exhibit. It had to reinvent itself quickly, or simply close its doors.

At a news conference in Amsterdam on Monday, flanked by international museum directors and diplomats, Birnie announced that the museum is reemerging with a new name and a new group of collaborators.

As of Sept. 1, it will be renamed H’Art Museum, and it will present exhibitions in partnership with three international museums: the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.; the Centre Pompidou in Paris; and the British Museum in London.

“We’re going to be like a museum for museums,” Birnie said. “Three partners will bring you a lot more than one.”

H’Art will have separate contracts with each of the partner institutions, Birnie said Friday by phone, so that it can receive art loans, and share information plus curatorial and educational resources. Sometimes, H’Art will borrow full exhibitions, and perhaps adjust them for the Dutch audience; other times it will develop new shows using art from a partner’s collection. The financial arrangements have not yet been settled, Birnie said, but the collaboration agreements have been signed.

The Pompidou has agreed to work with H’Art on five exhibitions over five years, starting in 2024 with a show of Wassily Kandinsky works from the French museum’s collection. The partnership comes at an advantageous time for the French contemporary and modern art museum, as it will close for renovations in 2025, and is expected to be shuttered for about five years.

“It is a great joy for us to join the H’Art Museum as it begins this new chapter,” said Laurent Le Bon, Pompidou’s president, in an emailed statement, “as it will be the first long-term partnership between a Dutch cultural institution and the Centre Pompidou.”

The Smithsonian and the British Museum will work with H’Art Museum curators to mount three exhibitions each in the next six years, Birnie said, adding that the full schedule for the coming years would be released in the fall.

The Hermitage in St. Petersburg did not immediately reply to a request for comment on Monday.

The Hermitage Amsterdam was established as an independent nonprofit by a board of private individuals in 2009, and had its own artistic direction finances, and curatorial staff. Its contract with the St. Petersburg Hermitage gave the Amsterdam museum the right to use the Hermitage name and “unlimited rights” to borrow works from the Russian collection.

For the 14 years since it opened, Hermitage Amsterdam mounted 30 exhibitions with art on loan from its St. Petersburg mother ship, including significant shows of French Post-Impressionist and Flemish old master paintings.

About a third of the shows were linked to Russian culture and history, such as exhibitions about Hermitage’s founder Catherine the Great and “Jewels! The Glitter of the Russian Court.”

Such celebrations of imperial glamour seemed less appealing to the public while Russia was bombing Ukraine, Birnie said. “I think the magic of Russia has disappeared with the war,” she added.

Hermitage Amsterdam’s final collaboration with the St. Petersburg museum, “Russian Avant-Garde: Revolution in the Arts,” was scheduled to show for a year, but it was closed after five weeks when the museum cut ties with Russia. The museum took a roughly $2 million loss by closing it early, Birnie said.

“We felt this was the only right thing to do,” Birnie said. “We had to live with the consequences, but we held onto that decision with pride. As the situation developed in Ukraine, time proved us right.”

In the months after Hermitage Amsterdam cut ties, Dutch museums stepped in to help it stay afloat, temporarily lending some of their star works in gestures of solidarity. The Rijksmuseum gave Johannes Vermeer’s “The Milkmaid”; the Van Gogh Museum, Vincent Van Gogh’s “The Yellow House”; and the Boijmans van Beuningen, its “The Tower of Babel” by Bruegel. The museum also raised almost $1 million through a crowdfunding campaign.

In February, Hermitage Amsterdam opened “Rembrandt and his Contemporaries: History Paintings from The Leiden Collection,” which is still on view. That show assembles 35 artworks from a private trove of Dutch master paintings owned by American billionaire Thomas Kaplan.

Kaplan will also provide another major loan of Dutch masters to the H’Art Museum for an exhibition in 2025, which will include 17 Rembrandt paintings he owns. He said he was enthusiastic about the museum’s choice to partner with the Smithsonian, the Pompidou and the British Museum.

“The collaboration with these great museums,” he said, would “act as a magnet for other great collaborations.”

“Success breeds a desire by others to participate,” Kaplan said. “So not only will the museum have made the break with its origin story with Russia,” he added, it would “emerge from it an even more vital force than ever before.”

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

Today's News

June 28, 2023

With slashed funding, British museums turn to philanthropy

Princess Leia's dress from the original 'Star Wars' is up for bids

After cutting ties with Russia, a Hermitage Museum outpost rebrands

At a German museum with Russian trustees, teamwork is tense

Bonhams Cornette de Saint Cyr explores Paris and the Arab World in new sale

Artist STIK to raise money for Southbank Centre free children's programme

Allegory featuring Villa Medici in Rome stars in Bonhams Old Masters sale in London

BMA acquires LaToya Ruby Frazier installation celebrating Baltimore's community health workers

AstaGuru's Collectors Choice Auction a remarkable success with impressive sales and several records

Africa Supernova: The collection of Carla & Pieter Schulting now on view at Kunsthal KAdE

1st major U.S. exhibition of Brazilian artist Erika Verzutti now on view at CCS Bard

Michaan's July Auctions sparkles with collecting gems

Netta Lieber Sheffer is the winner of the 2023 Haim Shiff Prize for Figurative-Realist Art

Weinberg/Newton Gallery to permanently close doors with public, celebratory closing

Million-dollar Revolutionary War hero's gold medal on display at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia

Intoart announces its summer collection exhibition 'A Lion in the Studio' at Copeland Gallery

Yves Dana & Richard Höglund open exhibition today at Waddington Custot

'Klara Kristalova: The Cold Wind and the Warm' being presented by Lehmann Maupin

Berlin based Portuguese born artist Leonor Antunes' solo exhibition opening at Fruitmarket Edinburgh

MCA Australia partners with 3XN/GXN architects on sustainable exhibition design in 2023-24

Cooee Art to relaunch as Art Leven marking new era for Australia's oldest Indigenous gallery

Last chance to see Juan de Pareja, Afro-Hispanic painter, closing at The Met on July 16

The first biography of pioneering female pop artist Pauline Boty

Review: A Jew and 16 'Nerf Nazis' meet cute in 'Just for Us'

How Learning Art History Influences Modern Education

7 Best Gambling-Inspired Paintings by Greatest Artists

Easy Ways to Improve Your MetroNet Internet Speed

Unveiling SBOBET: The Trusted Choice for Indonesian Football Betting

Is SBOBET the Best Platform for Football Gambling? Find Out Here!

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez
Writer: Ofelia Zurbia Betancourt

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. Hommage
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful