Art commotion affects UM

The posthumous commotion that has emerged around the well-known Maastricht art dealer Robert Noortman also affects Maastricht University.

He is suspected of having faked an art theft from his gallery on the Vrijthof in order to collect insurance money.

Noortman, one of the founders of the world famous Tefaf art fair, died in 2007 as a celebrated citizen of the city of Maastricht. The university honoured him by naming a chair after him at the Faculty of Economics, or to be more exact, at the Centre for Entrepreneurship. The UM, as the press release said at the time, "wishes to preserve his entrepreneurial ideas and to promote (...) entrepreneurship among students and researchers."

This phrase has now taken on a completely different aspect, as Noortman is being accused of having burned a Hobbema painting and having had eight other ones 'stolen'. The missing paintings surfaced last week.

The UM is clearly embarrassed about the matter. The Executive Board refuses to comment and refers to the spokesperson, who only states "we are awaiting further facts".

In the past, the UM placed a ban on Nobel Prize winner Peter Debye when his name was discredited. The university did so a few weeks after the affair hit the media. An academic prize that carried his name is no longer awarded.


Wammes Bos

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