Major museum directors' protest: regret at the way Cecilie Hollberg was treated

Directors of large autonomous museums are protesting the way Cecilie Hollberg, director of the Accademia Gallery in Florence who was fired without explanation, was treated.

Fifteen museum directors are writing an open letter to harshly criticize the way the Ministry of Cultural Heritage in recent days has treated the now former director of the Academy Gallery, Cecilie Hollberg. The art historian, in an interview, had complained about being fired suddenly and without explanation, due to the fact that, under the ministry’s reform, the Accademia was merged with the Uffizi. However, Hollberg let it be known that the minister of cultural heritage, Alberto Bonisoli, did not explain the reason for the amalgamation or say why the director was removed from her post simply with a letter.

The fifteen directors are part of the group of twenty (including Cecilie Hollberg) who were appointed in the first international competition announced by Franceschini: currently only Cristiana Collu, Paolo Giulierini, Eike Schmidt, and Gabriel Zuchtriegel are missing from the roll call. Of the fifteen, three are no longer directing the museums for which they were appointed (Serena Bertolucci has moved on to Palazzo Ducale, Mauro Felicori and Paola Marini have reached the maximum age limit), seven have been reappointed, two will leave their posts (Peter Assmann and Peter Aufreiter) while three are awaiting confirmation (Sylvain Bellenger, James Bradburne and Anna Coliva).

Below is the text of the letter and the names of the signatories.

“The colleagues who have shared in these four years the enthusiasms, difficulties and results of the new adventure of the Italian autonomous museums, appreciating Cecilie Hollberg’s competence, limpegno, dedication, creativity, loyalty, and successes, are deeply regretful of her non-renewal as head of the Galleria dellAccademia in Florence and of the ways in which this decision was carried out. While not wishing to enter into the merits of the recent changes in the organization of the MIBAC, one remains interdicted at the rapidity with which the decision was made to implement the new reform, in fact disqualifying our colleague Hollberg from her post in time without finding time for a meeting to discuss the Academy’s prospects once it is deprived of its autonomy or to communicate in person to the Director the deliberations taken, which so radically affect the museum she has led up to this point, as well as her personal destiny. And in this sense it is only right to recall also the similar treatment received by colleagues Valentino Nizzo and Simone Quilici, respectively former directors of the Etruscan Museum of Villa Giulia and of the Archaeological Park of the Ancient Hppia. We hope that the professionalism and talents of Cecilie Hollberg, whose wealth of experience appears to be of invaluable assistance in times of transition and uncertainty such as these, will not be wasted.”

Peter Assmann, Ducal Palace, Mantua
Peter Aufreiter, Galleria Nazionale delle Marche, Urbino
Martina Bagnoli, Estensi Galleries, Modena
Sylvain Bellenger, Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte, Naples
Serena Bertolucci, former director of the Royal Palace, Genoa
James Bradburne, Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan
Anna Coliva, Galleria Borghese, Rome
Paola D’Agostino, Bargello Museums, Florence
Eva Degl’Innocenti, National Archaeological Museum, Taranto
Mauro Felicori, former director of the Royal Palace of Caserta
Flaminia Gennari Santori, National Galleries of Ancient Art, Rome
Carmelo Malacrino, National Archaeological Museum of Reggio Calabria
Paola Marini, former Director of the Gallerie dellAccademia. Venice
Enrica Pagella, Royal Museums, Turin
Marco Pierini, National Gallery of Umbria, Perugia

Major museum directors' protest: regret at the way Cecilie Hollberg was treated
Major museum directors' protest: regret at the way Cecilie Hollberg was treated

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