On 7 March, Catherine de Zegher was suspended during an extraordinary meeting of the board of directors, pending the results of the external committee established in the wake of the protest brought on by the loan of Russian avant-garde works from the Dieleghem Foundation. A new board of directors appointed Cathérine Verleysen as acting director of the MSK.
Cathérine Verleysen knows the MSK inside out. She joined the museum in 2002 as a research associate and was named head of the collection and research department in 2014. Born near Antwerp, she studied art history and archeology in Ghent, before attending the Sorbonne where she received a doctorate in art history (modern art).
At the MSK, she has curated exhibitions devoted to the works of Gustave Van de Woestyne (2010), George Minne and Maurice Maeterlinck (2011), and Émile Verhaeren (2016–2017). Since 2017, she is a member of a consultation committee under the authority of the Cultural Heritage Decree.
The board of directors hopes that with the appointment of an acting director the institution will be able to focus on its primary duties. The MSK has recently opened an exhibition of works by Italian sculptor Medardo Rosso and is getting ready to celebrate the Van Eyck Year, which falls within the scope of Toerisme Vlaanderen’s major project on Flemish masters.
Johan De Smet, head of exhibition at the MSK, will oversee the most ambitious Van Eyck exhibition to date. The exhibition will be presented at the MSK in 2020 under the leadership of an international committee of experts and with the support of St Bavo’s Cathedral. Many loans have already been secured for this prestigious exhibition which takes place during the Van Eyck Year in Ghent.