3 Stedelijk Board Members Resign After a Study Clears Former Museum Director Beatrix Ruf of Wrongdoing

The German curator expresses her gratitude to the investigation's researchers, while board members step down "to end the turmoil" in Amsterdam.

Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Photo: stedelijk.nl

Three members of the Stedelijk museum’s supervisory board members are stepping down as the former director of the Amsterdam institution, Beatrix Ruf, is cleared of wrongdoing. Madeleine de Cock Buning and Jos van Rooijen have expressed their intention to resign in an open letter released late yesterday, June 12. The statement comes in light of the findings of the first commissioned study, which was partially shared yesterday by local broadcaster AT5. The letter also states that board member Rita Kersting has also resigned with immediate effect.

“In the best interests of the museum, it is time to bring the recent turmoil to an end and start afresh,” write de Cock Buning, who is the board’s interim chairman, and van Rooijen. “After due consideration of the report and its findings, and with a view to the museum’s interests, we intend to step down as members of the Supervisory Board.”

Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam supervisory board members Jos van Rooijen, Madeleine de Cock Buning, and Rita Kersting have announced their resignation. Courtesy Stedelijk Museum.

After a seven-month long investigation, Ruf has been exonerated of any wrongdoing by independent investigators. The leading German curator resigned last October following allegations of a lack of transparency in her external activities as a private art advisor for her Swiss company, Currentmatters. She was also accused of failing to disclose details around a large donation of 200 works to the contemporary and modern art museum by German collector Thomas Borgmann, which also involved the purchasing of works.

Ruf also released a statement this morning in response to the findings. “I am gratified the independent investigators have cleared me completely. Contrary to stories in the press, the independent investigators concluded I always acted with integrity; all side activities were approved; and I never ran an art consulting business on the side,” she writes.

“But above all, I was touched most by their conclusion that I always put my heart and soul into the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Because I did,” Ruf adds.

“We are grateful to the researchers for their efforts on behalf of the museum. We endorse the conclusions in broad terms and embrace all of the report’s recommendations,” write de Cock Buning and van Rooijen. “The researchers also note that in a number of areas, supervision was inadequate. This is a finding we acknowledge, take responsibility for, and intend to learn from.”

The remaining board members, Cees de Bruin, Joyce Sylvester, Willem de Rooij, and Ronald Hans, have all confirmed they will remain to help “restore order and stability”. A new chairman of the Supervisory Board will be recruited immediately in consultation with the municipality, and Cees de Bruin has been appointed interim chairman until the new appointment has been made. 

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