Jane Turner

Dutch Art & Design Today

30-06-2023 • 1時間 32分

'What's left to do? To keep people interested in old art. To make that art interesting and relevant. Perhaps relevant isn’t the right word… But if you look at the art market; the biggest money, right now, is in modern and contemporary art. You see it in auction houses, too. The content of the sales is different than it was 20 years ago. Old Masters remain a challenge. But then, you'll get a Vermeer exhibition, like at the Rijksmuseum—where the tickets sell out on the second day. And so I’m optimistic about the future, when it comes to the Old Masters.'

—Jane Turner

For the thirteenth episode of ‘Dutch Art & Design Today’, I sat down with Jane Turner; an editor, scholar, specialist in Dutch and Flemish Old Master drawings and prints, the former Head of the Print Room at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and has been the Editor in Chief of journal Master Drawings—covering Old Master drawings—since 2004. Jane studied art history at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, and quickly found her way to working at the college's art museum. She studied in Paris for a year while at Smith, refining her eye and interests in Old Master art; and after graduation, decided to move to Manhattan, where she worked at the Cooper Hewitt Museum and the Morgan Library, where she began specializing in Netherlandish drawings of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. During her museum days in New York, she became known for compiling catalouges of collections, imbuing her with editorial expertise, particularly concerning hefty tomes. In the late-1980s Jane moved to London, where she worked for over a decade on the 36-volume Dictionary of Art; a powerhouse of a print publication, the likes of which will never be produced again, and which itself, was progressive in its approach to global art. In 2011 Jane was appointed Head of the Print Room at the Rijksmuseum, retiring from it in 2020. Through her work, Jane's become a globally renowned museum scholar and connoisseur of Netherlandish drawings.

In this meanderingly playful talk, Jane and I discuss the course of her career and trace its origins from her hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio—where I was, coincidentally, also born; to her youth spent in Cleveland, and what life was like in terms of her early-exposure to museums and modern art; and then move on to discuss some of the ideas and subjects she was interested in as a student. Jane spends a large portion of our conversation underlying the importance of mentorship within her work and discusses some of the programs and initiatives she has put in place, which advocate for the advancement of young scholars of drawings and prints. While at the Rijksmuseum, Jane was responsible for leading numerous digital catalogue projects that made the print room's drawings digitally accessible, with full descriptions, technical research and provenance information. She also was responsible for innovative exhibitions put on by the print room, including one titled 'XXL', which featured eccentric, huge works on paper, and another titled 'Frans Post. Animals in Brazil', which saw plush insects 'overtake' the museum. Lastly, Jane ponders what the future holds for Old Master drawings and museums—and indeed, is hopeful for both.

You can learn more about the Rijksmuseum's Print Room over on their website.

You can find John on X @johnbezold and at his website johnbezold.com.

'Dutch Art & Design Today' is published by Semicolon-Press.