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A collection on the move

[The film begins with an interview with Veerle De Meester, the coordinator of exhibition projects during the temporary closure.]

Veerle De Meester:

“In view of the temporary closure, we’ve arranged important loans to other museums in Belgium and abroad. Some paintings will be displayed here in Antwerp: at MAS or at Koningin Fabiolazaal. About a hundred will be transferred to the Municipal Museum in Lier. We’re in the process of packing those paintings for transportation.”

[The screen is split horizontally. In the top section, Veerle De Meester talks on, while the bottom section shows how a case containing a painting is sealed and moved.]

Veerle De Meester:

“So a lot of preparation has gone into this operation. The condition of the paintings has been checked and they’ve been treated if necessary. We’ve also checked whether certain items require special packaging or other precautionary measures. All we have to do now is get them packed.”

[Music begins. The title of the film is superimposed: “A Collection on the Move – Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp”. The camera registers how a painting is packed for transport. The case is opened. Museum staff check labels and a file to identify the painting. Two men carry it to its case. They apply adjustable corner guards to keep it in place inside the container. Very gently, they lower the painting into the case. The container is closed and locked. Restorer Lizet Klaassen picks up the thread of the story. She is inside a room where the cases with paintings are stored. The camera follows her around as she talks.]

Lizet Klaassen:

“Quite a few paintings are being moved right now. The cases over there are ready for transportation. They’re leaving for Lier later this week. And many of the cases in this room are empty. They’ve just returned from an exhibition in Oslo. The paintings have been unpacked and lined against a wall in the next room.”

[The camera follows Lizet in rapid motion to the room she is referring to. The interview continues.]

Lizet Klaassen:

“These pictures have been checked by us for damage during transit or at the exhibition in Oslo. Some are about to be sent on loan again to other museums. So we’ve checked whether their condition allows them to travel to their next host location.”

[The camera shows the cases that have been stored in the galleries of the museum and zooms in on details and paintings as the interview continues.]

Lizet Klaassen:

“We always try to ensure that the paintings travel safely. Especially now that the entire collection is being moved, this requires a lot of care. When we receive a loan request, we check whether the painting is fit to travel. If it is, we determine the safest way of transporting it. This may involve all kinds of aids: a special suspension system, appropriate framing, a climate box for delicate works… And protective casing to keep the paintings safe during the journey.”

[The camera follows Lizet Klaassen as she crosses a room to some paintings that have been rolled up for conservation. She points at the paintings as she continues her explanation.]

Lizet Klaassen:

“These paintings have been rolled up for storage. They’ve been like this for many years, so I’ve never actually seen them. We know very little about their condition. But as the entire collection is being moved, this is a good opportunity to check and treat them if necessary. So in this sense, the closure of the museum offers a chance to catch up on overdue conservation work.”

[Ms. Klaassen approaches the rolled up paintings. The screen turns dark as the words Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp – Closed but close by appear and the film ends.] 


Museum offices

Lange Kievitstraat 111-113 bus 100, B-2018 Antwerpen

T +32 (0)3 224 95 50