Hermitage Amsterdam Rebrands as H’ART Museum After Severing Ties With the St Petersburg Flagship Institution

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Amsterdam’s Hermitage Museum, once the largest satellite of the St. Petersburg institution, will be rebranded as H’ART Museum after severing ties with Russia, it announced on Monday. The Dutch museum, which previously relied on the Hermitage’s collection for its programming, has instead formed international partnerships with some of the world’s leading institutions to bring their works on show in the Dutch capital.

The museum’s new identity will come into effect on September 1. Centre Pompidou in Paris, London’s British Museum, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. will become H’ART Museum’s new partners and plans for major exhibitions in collaboration with these museums over the coming three years are already underway.

The institution has already received support from corporations including the heritage lottery group VriendenLoterij, brewery Heineken and bank ABN AMRO to develop its new direction. The ELJA Foundation, a new philanthropic organization aimed at providing cultural opportunities to young people, will also provide funding for the museum.

“It’s an exciting new step for us, a contemporary and future-proof model,” Annabelle Birnie, the museum’s director, said in a statement. “We are building on our experience in the international field and are now spreading our wings. Our programming will be multi-voiced reflecting the times we live in. We will show major art exhibitions as well as intimate presentations.”

The rebranding and repositioning came more than a year after the Amsterdam museum cut ties with its parent museum in March 2022, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Dutch institution said at the time that “a line was crossed.”

Founded in 2009, the Hermitage Amsterdam was originally established as an independent non-profit but it had “unlimited rights” to borrow works from the historic St Petersburg collection. Cutting the ties with Russia meant the future of the Amsterdam institution was in limbo, but this did not last for very long.

Following the official launch of the new name and identity, H’ART Museum will be working to develop upcoming programs with its new partner institutions, which could invovled art loans as well as various kinds of collaborations with curators and artists. The museum has signed separate contracts with each of the partner institution, according to the .

Upcoming highlights include the “Kandinsky” exhibition, organized in partnership with Centre Pompidou, which is expected to travel to the Netherlands in mid-2024. It will be the first of five exhibitions shared between the two institutions over a five-year period. The British Museum’s “Feminine power” exhibition will also travel to H’ART in 2026. And a major exhibition is being planned in collaboration with the U.S.-based Leiden Collection, in which all 17 Rembrandts from the privately held collection will be displayed together publicly for the first time. That show will take place in 2025, to celebrate the 750th anniversary of Amsterdam.

Meanwhile, Martine Gutierrez’s video installation work (2012) from the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, is already on show at the museum’s redesigned space. A full schedule of exhibition and programs will be announced later this year.

 

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