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The end of an era: Danièle Wagener retires

Danièle Wagener, Director of the 2 Musées de la Ville de Luxembourg, will retire on 1 September 2018.

Holding a degree in art history and archaeology from the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and a Master of Arts from Columbia University, New York, she joined the Luxembourg City administration in 1986 as curator of Villa Vauban, the city’s art museum, and of the project for the future municipal history museum (today’s Lëtzebuerg City Museum), which opened its doors in June 1996. In addition to its permanent exhibition on the history of the city, which has been continuously updated and adapted, most recently in 2017, more than 70 temporary exhibitions have been organised under her direction, including Vivre au Moyen Âge : Luxembourg, Metz et Trèves (1998), Les sorcières et leurs bourreaux, hier et aujourd’hui (2000), Dix questions sur le Luxembourg et la Deuxième Guerre mondiale (2002), “Greetings from Luxembourg”. Un voyage dans le monde du tourisme (2008), Pauvre Luxembourg ? (2011/12) or La Croix-Rouge à Luxembourg et dans le monde (2014/15).

At Villa Vauban, Danièle Wagener organized some 40 temporary exhibitions between 1986 and 2004, including Joseph Kutter (1986), L’œuvre graphique de Joan Miró (1987/88), 80 chefs- d’œuvre de la collection Thyssen-Bornemisza (1988), L’œuvre gravé de Francisco de Goya (1991), Bernard Molitor, ébéniste parisien d’origine luxembourgeoise (1995), Chefs-d’œuvre du Musée Bredius de La Haye (1998) or Lucien Wercollier et ses amis peintres (2003).

It was under her impetus that the City’s political leaders gave the green light for the renovation of Villa Vauban and the construction of a contemporary extension building. In May 2010 the new City Art Museum reopened its doors with a large exhibition on the fascination of 17th-century Dutch painting, in collaboration with the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. Other ambitious projects including each time prestigious loans from internationally renowned museums follow: Marines néerlandaises du XVIIe siècle (2010/11), Brueghel, Cranach, Titien, van Eyck. Trésors de la Collection Brukenthal (2012), Une passion royale pour l’art. Guillaume II des Pays-Bas et Anna Pavlovna (2014) or Paula Modersohn-Becker (2018).

Under the direction of Danièle Wagener, the City’s art collections, whose origins date back to the 19th century, have been completed by major acquisitions, including paintings by Pieter and Jan Brueghel as well as a large number of works by Luxembourg artists, both old and contemporary. The collection of the Musée d’Histoire / Lëtzebuerg City Museum, created practically ex nihilo from 1986, today includes about 20,000 objects.

Throughout her career, Danièle Wagener has worked to open both Museums to a very wide public, notably through attractive and inclusive cultural programs.

She has also succeeded in integrating the City’s two museums into numerous international professional networks, such as CODART (Flemish and Dutch art), the European Museum Academy (research and innovation in museums), Arbeitskreis Museen für Geschichte (history museums) or CityHist Network (city museums) and is one of the founders of the associations d’stater muséeën (2001) and ICOM Luxembourg (2017).

Danièle Wagener is not going to put an end to her activities, but will on the contrary concentrate more on her voluntary commitments in the artistic and socio-cultural fields.

About Prof. Negri

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