Tate poaches director of Van Abbemuseum

John Debbaut joins Nicholas Serota at Tate

Jan Debbaut (right) has been appointed Tate’s Director of Collections, one of the three key posts under Nicholas Serota. A Belgian citizen, he is currently director of Eindhoven’s Van Abbemuseum, whose major expansion project he carried through (see above). His special interest is 20th-century and particularly contemporary art. At Tate he will be responsible for the care of the collections, research and acquisitions, working alongside the director of Tate Britain, Stephen Deuchar, and of Tate Modern, Vicente Todoli, from Spain. Mr Debbaut starts in September, replacing Jeremy Lewison who left last June. The post has now been expanded to include responsibility for conservation. Mr Debbaut was a Turner Prize judge in 2000 and last year he was appointed a trustee of the Whitechapel Art Gallery. His departure from the Van Abbemuseum means that four major directorships in the Low Countries are now vacant, three of them from galleries of modern art. Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum is currently seeking a director to replace Rudi Fuchs, who resigned in January (see p.21). Chris Dercon is leaving Rotterdam’s Boijmans-van Beuningen Museum in May to become head of the Munich Haus der Kunst exhibition centre, taking over from Christoph Vitali. Last month it was announced that Jan Hoet, director of Ghent’s Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (SMAK) since 1975, is to retire in September.

Appeared in The Art Newspaper Archive, 134 March 2003