Secretary and Chief Executive at Royal Academy of Arts , UK
In April 2006, Axel Rüger became the director of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
Axel Rüger was born in Dortmund in 1968. He studied art history in Berlin at the Freie Universität, at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom and at Queen’s University, Kingston in Canada.
Rüger worked at a number of museums in Atlanta, Detroit and Washington before being appointed Curator of Dutch Paintings (1600-1800) at the National Gallery in London.
During his time in London, Rüger curated international exhibitions for the National Gallery, such as Vermeer and the Delft School in collaboration with the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (2001), Aelbert Cuyp in collaboration with the National Gallery of Art in Washington (2002) and Masterpieces of Seventeenth Century Dutch Portrait Painting in collaboration with the Mauritshuis in The Hague (2007).
Rüger contributed essays to the catalogues for these exhibitions and published and lectured on various aspects of 17th century Dutch art.
Van Gogh Museum
Since 2006, Rüger has been the director of the Van Gogh Museum and thus the representative of a global brand.
In this capacity, he was responsible for the following exhibitions/projects:
- Van Gogh and the colours of the night (2009)
- The publication of the new letters edition Vincent van Gogh – the Letters (compilers Nienke Bakker and Hans Luijten, 2009)
- Exhibition Dreams of nature. Symbolism from Van Gogh to Kandinsky (2012)
- Van Gogh at work (2013)
- Reorganisation of the permanent collection in the Rietveld building (2014)
Van Gogh year 2015
Rüger celebrated Van Gogh Year 2015 among others by redeveloping the museum’s website, with the spectacular unveiling of the new glass entrance building and the blockbuster exhibition Munch : Van Gogh. Under Rüger’s leadership, the Van Gogh Museum attracted a record 1.9 million visitors in that year.
View of the future
In April 2016, the Van Gogh Museum Professional Services were launched. These will enable the museum to offer its expertise and professional services to museums, government bodies, private institutions and collectors, reflecting Rüger’s vision of cultural entrepreneurship.
Another good example is Meet Vincent van Gogh: a travelling, interactive experience providing visitors with an innovative introduction to the world of Vincent van Gogh. This journey through the life of Van Gogh tells the unique story of the artist’s short and turbulent life.
Axel Rüger was with us at Communicating the Museum in Paris.