The Netherlands Institute for Art History (RKD)

CKV arranged a consultation with The Netherlands Institute for Art History (RKD) in The Hague as part of the field analysis and valuation framework for artists’ archives. As an archive institute, the RKD currently manages almost 2,000 metres of archive material, representing approximately 700 archives on artists, art movements, art historians, gallery owners, collectors, designers, restorers and others. The art historical archives that are housed at the RKD are privately owned archives with a unique composition and structure. First and foremost, these should continue being consulted and used by researchers.

Whether an archive qualifies for acquisition doesn’t just depend on the quantity of material to be processed. Social relevance and the museum scale also play a role. The state of an archive plays a relatively minor role in a potential acquisition. Nevertheless, RKD is working on an emergency list of urgent cases so that it can proactively work towards ensuring physical conservation.

RKD publishes its overview of the collection’s archives in an accessible database, RKDcollections. An inventory of many of these archives can also be consulted via the database, RKDarchives.

RKD is also working on a permanent growing database of national and international artists that extends from the Middle Ages to the present day. Art dealers, collectors and historians have also been included in this database, making it the index of the RKD’s extensive art historical documentation and archives. More importantly, however, this database has developed into an essential thesaurus used by many national and international heritage institutes when making their own collections accessible.