Conference: Max J. Friedländer (1867-1958): art-historian, museum director, connoisseur, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, June 8, 2017
Registration deadline: Jun 5, 2017
The 5th of June 2017 marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Max J.
Friedländer (1867-1958). This milestone offers an excellent opportunity
to reflect on the legacy of this still well-esteemed art historian.
Friedländer was appointed director of the Kupferstichkabinett in 1908,
then subdirector of the Gemäldegalerie in 1912 and finally director of
the latter in 1929. Under the energetic leadership of Wilhelm Bode,
general director of the Berlin museums, Friedländer developed into a
recognised connoisseur and author of over eight hundred publications,
of which Die Altniederländische Malerei (Early Netherlandish Painting)
and Von Kunst und Kennerschaft (On Art and Connoisseurship) are the
In the history of art history Friedländer is primarily associated with
“connoisseurship”, a competence which he considered most important.
According to Friedländer, connoisseurship embodies a subjective form of
scholarship and can only be gained by practice. The lack of a
theoretical underpinning and the impossibility of factual verification,
however, gradually led to the decline of connoisseurship as a scholarly
method, especially in the academic field.
The symposium aims at highlighting Friedländer’s merits for the history
of art. Specialists from Belgium, Germany, the United States and The
Netherlands will present a diverse range of papers that will call
attention to Friedländer’s work as museum official, scholar and
connoisseur. Moreover, the relevance of connoisseurschip for today’s
art history will be discussed.
The organization of this international symposium is in collaboration
with the RKD – Netherlands Institute for Art History, The Hague, the
University of Bamberg and the CVNK (Contactgroep Vroege Nederlandse
Kunst/Network for specialists in early Netherlandish art).
09.00-09.30 Registration and coffee
09.40-10.00 Suzanne Laemers: Max J. Friedländer, an introduction to a
renowned art historian
Friedländer’s activity at the Berlin museums and his relation with his
colleagues, art dealers and collectors
10.00-10.20 Sandra Kriebel: Exhibiting Berlin private collections: Max
J. Friedländer as curator of loan exhibitions
10.20-10.40 Claire Baisier: Max J. Friedländer and the Antwerp
collector and connoisseur Fritz Mayer van den Bergh (1858-1901)
11.10-11.30 Catherine B. Scallen: Max J. Friedländer and Duveen Bros.
11.30-11.50 Dr. Timo Saalmann: Connoisseurship in doubt: Max J.
Friedländer, the art market and antisemitism in the early 1930s
13.30-13.40 Bart Fransen: Friedländer 3.0: Max J. Friedländer’s Early
Netherlandish Painting as online database
Evaluation of Friedländer’s scholarly contribution to the history of art
13.40-14.00 Simon Elson: The poet or Max J. Friedländer’s art commentary
14.00-14.20 Eveliina Juntunen: Max J. Friedländer and modern
printmaking in Germany. Some thoughts about his influence on its
reception and on the art market
The importance of connoisseurship as a method in art history, including
the field of technical study and its rivalry with the learned eye, and
the necessity of teaching connoisseurship
15.20-15.40 Katrin Dyballa: Connoisseurship: A precondition for writing
a collection catalogue
15.40-16.00 Carol Pottasch/Kirsten Derks: The Lamentation by Rogier van
der Weyden (Mauritshuis, The Hague) in the context of traditional
connoisseurship and technical research
16.00-16.20 Milko den Leeuw/Oliver Spapens: Connoisseurship and
technical examination: opposites or complimentary methods?
16.20-16.30 Daantje Meuwissen: Connoisseurship os MA-specialisation at
the VU University Amsterdam
16.30-17.00 Discussion and closing remarks
17.00-18.00 Drinks and possibility to visit the Middle Ages and
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