One of the recent mysteries of the art world is touched upon in this NY Times story on the opening of the Museum Voorlinden, the personal collection of Jan van Caldenborgh. Last year, the museum gained stature by hiring Wim Pijbes from the Rijksmuseum.
When asked, Pijbes says the move had nothing to do with his salary, nor was he recruited. He asked to be considered for the job.
“It is a world-class collection, but it’s personal, and it has a few strong accents,” Mr. Pijbes said. “It’s not an encyclopedic museum, of course, but to me it’s no different from the Frick in New York, for example, which was a personal collection of Henry Clay Frick, who collected the best of the best, in certain areas.”
Asked why he decided to build his own museum rather than to bequeath his collection to a public museum, or build a new wing onto an existing institution, Mr. van Caldenborgh said, “Nobody offered me that, number one, and number two, I would’ve been afraid that everything would go into the vaults and never appear again.”
Mr. Pijbes officially started his job in July, and so far he has taken a back seat to Mr. van Caldenborgh. “It’s his baby, he made it, he was very much in control of every detail during construction and installing and having Ellsworth Kelly as the first exhibition,” Mr. Pijbes said. “His dream is fulfilled, but running the museum is something completely different, and that’s something that starts on the day the doors open. And that’s the point where I take over, and he’s very much looking forward to that moment, I can assure you.”
How a Dutch Businessman Fulfilled His Dream to Open a ‘World-Class’ Museum (The New York Times)