Ger Luijten is gone, we will miss him!

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Ger Luijt, at Fondation Custodia in 2021

There are people in life whom you meet and spending just a few minutes with them makes you happy for the rest of the day. This is what Ger Luijten did to everyone who met him. The director fo Fondation Custodia in Paris, died on Monday December 19 th in Amsterdam from an aneurism. He was 66 and the most cheerful, fascinating and cultivated prints and drawings curator, always sharing his science and his eye with generosity and simplicity. The day the world of culture learned of his death, everyone was in tears from gallerists to museum curators. The emotion was real for his personality was just overwhelming. His Portuguese wife and ten year old son survive him. 

In every room of the foundation flower arrangements made you feel at home in a private place

Ger Luijten started his training in Breda as drawing teacher and then at 23, switched to studying Art History. He soon becomes curator at the Boijmans Van Beuningen museum in Rotterdam, then becomes curator of the graphic arts and prints department at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. In June 2010 he becomes director of Fondation Custodia in Paris, a private Dutch cultural center devoted to works on paper. There he has developed an active politics of exhibitions showing old drawings and contemporary print makers of which the extraordinary Léon Bonvin is the latest. It closes on Sunday, make sure to go and visit it if you haven’t already.

Léon Bonvin, Bunch of Violets, 1863, Zürich, collection Walter Feichenfeld

At one of his most recent press openings for the  “Open air painting“exhibition, he played “I am a rock” by Simon and Garfunkel to illustrate the rock scenes. This is how human and sensitive Ger Luijten was. You immediately felt part of the show and his obsession was to bring into the Custodia Foundation visitors who had no art history culture. His charism was unequalled but his research talents and his eye were also very highly regarded by galerists and curators alike. He always made you believe that your questions were essential and that he genuinely liked you. He worked hard on enlarging the library of the foundation  which is a major research center for drawings and prints and digitalized progressively the collection. He was a transmitter of culture and of love for art. A commemoration will take place in February in London and in Paris.

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3 Comments on “Ger Luijten is gone, we will miss him!”

  1. Thank you Laure. Wonderful sensitive tribute to an inspiring man, who still had so much to contribute. He will be so missed.

  2. The exhibit of “Dessins français du XIXè siècle”,which had been conceived by Ger Luijten is equally outstanding. Try to go and see it before it closes next Sunday. It is composed of drawings made by artists who are, for most of them totally unknown. A fascinating discovery!
    Merci, Laure, pour ton hommage à ce grand homme, si cultivé et si humble, si chaleureux aussi !

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