This book celebrates a great champion of our public collections. Peter Hecht is probably best known as an art historian who has specialized in Dutch art of the seventeenth century, with a focus on its iconography and critical fortunes.
His interests, however, are wide-ranging and include the history of museums and the development of public collections in the Netherlands. Throughout his career, Hetch has worked to show us why museums matter and how their collections, large or small, national or local, can make a profound difference to the lives of those who use them. As a scholar, he has shared his understanding of how collections are formed; as an expert advisor he has influenced the fate of numerous potential acquisitions; and more recently, as a curator, he has put his knowledge into practice both in a museum setting and online, helping to animate enthusiasm for the depth and breadth of collections across the Netherlands. Perhaps above all, as a passionate believer in the power of objects, he has campaigned to keep ambitions at the highest level, reminding us that no collection, however great, is ever complete and that it is always possible to do better. In this book a number of museum curators and other art historians shine their light on one or more acquisitions that have made a difference in the collections they entered, explaining why this is so and how these purchases or donations happened - from medieval to modern. We hope that this will bring people the world over to realise the importance of collecting for the public, locally, nationally and internationally and to acknowledge and encourage the role of private individuals, associations and institutions, as well as public bodies, in this vital endeavour.
Published by Paul Holberton publishing, London, 2016
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