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Lugt, Frits

    Full Name: Lugt, Frits

    Other Names:

    • Frits Lugt

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1884

    Date Died: 1970

    Place Born: Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands

    Place Died: Paris, Île-de-France, France

    Home Country/ies: Netherlands

    Subject Area(s): connoisseurship, drawings (visual works), Dutch (culture or style), Netherlandish, and prints (visual works)

    Career(s): art collectors


    Art collector, cataloger and connoisseur of Netherlandish drawings and prints. Lugt began his career at age twelve in 1899 when he constructed a catalog of the print collection in Rijksprentenkabinet in Amsterdam. By age fifteen, he had written a biography of Rembrandt, illustrated with photographic reproductions and with his own copies of etchings and drawings by Rembrandt (published 1997, Fondation Custodia). Lugt cut short his formal education to become an employee at the auction house Frederik Muller in Amsterdam in 1901. By 1911 he had become a partner of the firm, a position he held until 1915. One of his tasks at the auction house was the compilation of sale catalogs. His ongoing interest resulted in the four volumes of his famous Répertoire des catalogues de ventes publiques (published in 1938, 1953, 1964, and one – posthumously – in 1987). In the 1930s he donated his huge collection of sale catalogues and many other documentary materials to the Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistorische Documentatie at The Hague along with his personal library, which he considered on “permanent loan.” Lugt’s 1910 marriage to Jacoba Klever, a woman of independent means, meant that he could pursue his interests without financial concerns. In 1921, he completed his most famous work, Les marques de collections de dessins et d’estampes, a catalog for identifying collection marks and stamps. A year later, the French Minister of Education and the Fine Arts commissioned him to compile the inventory of Dutch and Flemish drawings in the Louvre. Between 1927 and 1969, he published nine volumes on drawings of the “écoles du Nord” from the Louvre’s collection as well as those in other collections in Paris, including the Petit Palais (collection Dutuit), the Bibliothèque Nationale, and the école des Beaux-Arts. Meanwhile, Lugt, together with his wife, built an impressive collection of drawings, prints, books, paintings etc. During the Second World War, the couple fled to the United States where Wolfgang Stechow secured a temporary position for him lecturing at Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio. During this time he participated in a symposium on Dutch art historians were he stated his particular view of the discipline (see the essay in Contributions…, 1943, bibliography). Lugt, whose devout Mennonite faith led him to consider their art collection part of God’s gift, sought a cultural center which would make their collection accessible to the public. This they realized, not in The Netherlands, but in France, with the creation of the Fondation Custodia in 1947. Ten years later, the Institut Néerlandais was opened, also in their honor. Exhibitions and other activities, first initiated by Frits Lugt himself, continued even after his death in 1970.

    Selected Bibliography

    [complete bibliography, including catalogs:] La Revue du Louvre 21 (1971): 51-54; Rembrandt. Een biografie door/Une biographie par/A Biography by Frits Lugt 1899. Paris: Fondation Custodia, 1997, 45-124; “Wandelingen met Rembrandt in Amsterdam”. Feest-bundel Dr. Abraham Bredius aangeboden den achttienden April, 1915. Amsterdam: Boek-, kunst-, en handelsdrukkerij, v/h Gebroeders Binger, 1915, 1: 138-177; 2, nrs. 50-74 (also published separately, Amsterdam: P.N. van Kampen & Zoon, 1915); [in addition to his 9 volumes of inventories of drawings, his most famous works are:] Les marques de collections de dessins et d’estampes. Marques estampillées et écrites de collections particulières et publiques. Marques de marchands, de monteurs et d’imprimeurs. Cachets de vente d’artistes décédés. Marques de graveurs apposées après le triage des plaches. Timbres d’éditions, etc. avec notices historiques sur les collectionneurs, les collections, les ventes, les marchands et éditeurs, etc. Amsterdam: Vereenigde Drukkerijen, 1921; Les Marques de collections de dessins et d’estampes. Supplément. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1956; Répertoire des catalogues de ventes publiques intéressant l’art ou la curiosité. 4 vols. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1938, 1953, 1964; [4. Paris, 1987]; “History of Art,” in, The Contribution of Holland to the Sciences: A Symposium. A. J. Barnouw and B. Landheer, eds. New York: Querido, 1943, pp. 179-211.


    Hennus, M.F., “Frits Lugt. Kunstvorser – Kunstkeurder”. Maandblad voor beeldende kunsten 26 (1950): 77-140;Van Gelder, Jan Gerrit., Gerson, Horst., De Gorter, S., eds. Frits Lugt: zijn leven en zijn verzamelingen. The Hague: Rijksbureau voor kunsthistorische documentatie, 1964; Van Gelder, J. G., “In memoriam Frits Lugt”. Flemish Drawings of the Seventeenth Century from the Collection of Frits Lugt. Institut Néerlandais Paris. London, 1972: IX-XV; Sutton, Denys, ed. “L’Amateur Accompli: Frits Lugt”. Apollo N.S. 104 (1976); Storm van Leeuwen, J., Biografisch woordenboek van Nederland 1. (The Hague, 1979): 357-358; Nihom-Nijstad, Saskia, “Introduction” in Reflets du siècle d’or. Tableaux hollandais du dix-septième siècle. Collection Frits Lugt, Fondation Custodia (Institut Néerlandais 10 mars – 30 avril, 1983). Paris: Fondation Custodia, 1983: IX-XIII; Bazin, Germain, Histoire de l’histoire de l’art de Vasari à nos jours. Paris: Albin Michel, 1986: 383-384 [mentioned]; Ergmann, R., “L’œil de l’aigle. Frits Lugt et l’Institut Néerlandais de Paris.” Connaissance des Arts 410 (April, 1986): 68-79; Collection Frits Lugt. Paris/ Fondation Custodia. Stichting naar Zwitsers recht. Paris: Fondation Custodia, 1994; Reitsma, Ellen, “Frits Lugt: A Boy with a Vocation” in Rembrandt: Een biografie door/Une biographie par/A Biography by Frits Lugt 1899. Paris: Fondation Custodia, 1997, 9-44; Van Berge-Gerbaud, Mària, “Frits Lugt et Rembrandt” in Rembrandt et son école. Dessins de la collection Frits Lugt, Fondation Custodia, Paris: Fondation Custodia, 1997: XI-XVI; [collection:] Bailey, Colin B., and Galassi, Susan Grace, and van Berge-Gerbaud, Mària, eds. Watteau to Degas: French Drawings from the Frits Lugt Collection. New York: The Frick Collection/Fondation Custodia, 2009; [obituaries:] Van Gelder, J. G, “Frits Lugt”. The Burlington Magazine 112 (1970): 762-763; Van Gelder, J. G, “Frits Lugt 4 mei 1884-15 juli 1970.” Oud Holland 85 (1970): 63-64; Sérullaz, Maurice, “Hommage à Frits Lugt.” La Revue du Louvre 21 (1971): 39-44; Van Gelder, J. G., “Frederik Johannes Lugt (4 mei 1884 – 15 juli 1970)”. Jaarboek van de Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen 1970. Amsterdam: B.V. Noord-Hollandsche Uitgevers Maatschappij, 1971: 261-267;

    Contributors: Monique Daniels


    Monique Daniels. "Lugt, Frits." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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