The Van Herck Collection

This collection consists of the documentation and research archive of the art dealer Van Herck, relating to sculpture produced in Antwerp in the 17th and 18th centuries.

History, content and structure

The Rubenianum preserves the documentation of the Van Herck family, former art dealers in Antwerp. The Van Herck family was active in the antiquarian sector from the 19th century onward. In 1947 Charles Van Herck (1884-1955) founded the ‘Zaal Van Herck’. The firm, at which auctions were held on a monthly basis, remained in existence until 1994. Van Herck, who specialized in sculptures produced in Antwerp in the 17th and 18th centuries, also built up a collection of documentation on works of art.

Since 2014 the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (KIK) has also managed part of the collection of photographs built up by the Van Herck auction house. It also possesses pictorial material of the church of St Bartholomeus in Merksem. The photographs are accessible and downloadable through BALaT, the search engine of the KIK.


Content and structure

The part of the collection that is now in the Rubenianum contains photographic documentation of objects including ivory, terracotta and metal figurines as well as objects of applied art from church interiors. The documentation is classified by artist, iconography, topography, typology, and type of material.


Consulting this source

Part of the inventory has been completed: this inventory and a description of the collection (prepared according to the COMETA model) are available in the reading room. The documentation can be consulted after contacting the Rubenianum ( and submitting a request through our library catalogue.