Raphaël Buedts: activating a legacy

Sculptor, draftsman and painter Raphaël Buedts (1946-2009) died shortly before his 2009 solo exhibition at the SMAK in Ghent. Since then, his four heirs have managed the estate. They came to the CKV for support.

The CKV provides advice on mapping the estate, with a focus on the archive. Buedts’s archive contains, among other things, printed matter (postcards, brochures, invitations, posters…), publications (in own edition, and those in which the artist is mentioned), press clippings and articles, accounts (invoices related to sales, loans, waybills, insurance…), photos (both of work and exhibitions, e.g. in Galerie Drieghe, and private photos with family and friends), sketches and notes (both loose and bound), official documents (certificates, diplomas, job applications…) and (draft) letters. In addition, it also contains pieces related to other functions besides his work as an artist: designs from when Buedts was active as an interior architect and models for the courses wood sculpting he taught. Initially, the archive must be organised and described, afterwards it must be packed in acid-free boxes.

The oeuvre contains drawings, graphics, paintings, and sculpture – mainly wood and plaster. Both inventory and digitisation of these various sub-collections had already been started by the heirs. Work on fine-tuning these inventories will continue. The estate also includes several works by artist friends, such as Roger Raveel.

The archive of Raphaël Buedts. Photo CKV (2021)

The legacy of Raphaël Buedts is one of the first cases in which we at the CKV look at the global approach: not only at archive care, but also at the many questions that arise when managing an estate. Where should the collection ultimately be housed? What belongs to the oeuvre’s core collection? How to further activate the estate?

Currently, works are regularly loaned out for exhibitions, but a clear plan of approach with a sustainable vision for the future is still lacking. Further mapping of the oeuvre will provide the basis for taking well-founded decisions. To increase the visibility of the estate, the heirs are already working together on a website about the artist’s life and work. This is an important first step towards activation, on which we can gradually build further.

The CKV is co-involved in the legal aspect: previously the heirs shared a partnership, but is this the best form? We help figure it out and already obtained advice from Cultuurloket, an organisation that focuses on business support for the cultural sector. To be continued!