News — 7 Oct 2017

The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam has taken note of the articles that appeared in NRC Handelsblad of Saturday 7 October concerning the Borgmann gift. In general terms, the museum does not see itself reflected in the image projected by the articles, and thus distances itself from their contents.

The organisation acts in accordance with the Cultural Governance Code, also with respect to loans and acquisitions.

The Stedelijk Museum handles the acquisition of new works and donations with great care. This was also the case regarding the agreements negotiated with the collector Thomas Borgmann, which were thoroughly scrutinised at the time, and subsequently approved.

Given the extraordinary scale and value of the donation, the contract was unique for the Stedelijk Museum. In addition to an extensive, significant gift, also included in the contract were provisions for the long-term loan of a number of works, and the purchase of works by Michael Krebber (Aspirin, 6 paintings) and Matt Mullican (Subject Driven, mixed media installation that spans 5 museum galleries). The purchase of the works took place at the same time as the donation. Neither of the acquisitions was initially listed in the annual report of 2016 that was published on the website because ownership does not pass to the Stedelijk for another three years. The costs in connection with the purchase, € 1.5 million, will be paid in instalments spread out over the next three years, after which their ownership transfers to the Stedelijk. At the express instructions of the external auditor, this was not entered into the accounts in one go. € 500,000 have been consolidated in the total amount of all works acquired in 2016 in the annual accounts.

In the meantime, contrary to our usual accounting practice, the artworks have now been incorporated into the annual report for 2016 for the sake of clarity (despite the fact that the museum does not yet fully own the works). 

As far as the Borgmann transaction is concerned, the museum followed its usual procedures with regard to transparency. The fact that the museum had acquired the Matt Mullican installation from Borgmann in 2016 was announced in a press release in June 2016, in view of the installation’s unprecedented scale and importance.

Finally, the Stedelijk Museum states that, due to a data processing error, the supplemental activities of both directors, and the members of the Supervisory Board, were not stated accurately in the annual report. The error has now been rectified.