M welcomes experts medieval sculpture at the Louvre

M welcomes experts medieval sculpture at the Louvre

Thursday, November 23, 2017 — The market for medieval sculpture has been booming over the past few years. What does this mean for collectors? And how can this trend be explained? As an international centre of knowledge and expertise in medieval sculpture, M-Museum Leuven is regularly confronted with these questions. On Thursday 23 and Friday 24 November, M will explore these themes with various international experts at the Louvre in Paris. M’s knowledge and expertise in these areas are world-class thanks to its important collection of medieval sculptures and the intensive research it has conducted over the past several years.


The central theme: collecting medieval statues

Sales of medieval sculpture on the international antiquities market has recently increased considerably, and especially since 2013. In that year, a 13th-century Maasland ivory Madonna was sold at Sotherby’s for no less than 3,068,032 EUR. A year later, the Getty Museum acquired a rare alabaster statue by the Master of the Rimini Altarpiece for no less than 542,500 pounds. Medieval sculptures have consistently been fetching record prices ever since. Last year, Christie’s Paris sold a number of the pleurants from the tomb of the Duc de Berry for 4.4 million euro to the Louvre. This year saw more record-breaking sales, with an auction at Christie’s London where two lions from the tomb of Charles V of France went under the hammer for no less than 8.2 million pounds.
The conference will focus on evolutions in the market for medieval statues. Are these artworks booming as an investment? And what are the consequences for institutions that are seeking to build a collection? What are the arguments in favour of investing in such a collection? We will also examine the role of publications and exhibitions in the promotion of this often-undervalued area of art history.

M as an international knowledge network

ARDS is M’s world-leading expertise and knowledge centre for medieval sculpture. This status developed in part thanks to the important collection of medieval sculptures at M, which is one of the three most important Belgian collections. It is also partly thanks to the intensive research that M has conducted over the past several years. As the organizer of this annual colloquium, the museum is further enhancing its status as a reference point in the field. We can thus stimulate international research and gradually give medieval sculpture the prominent place it deserves in the history of art.

2018 edition

M is also announcing the new location for the colloquium in 2018. The Museum Catharijneconvent in Utrecht will host all the international experts next year. The theme and the call for papers will be announced in spring 2018.

More information: www.ards.be


Denise Vandevoort President M-Museum Leuven
Marjan Debaene Head of collections at M-Museum Leuven
Peter Carpreau Conservator - Head of Old Masters at M-Museum Leuven
Veerle Ausloos Press and communication at M - Museum Leuven