About me

Independent  Writer, Art Historian, Researcher, Curator, Advisor

Ultrashort bio

black-is-beautiful-(photo Pieter Roozen)
Black is beautiful, Rubens to Dumas 2008 (photo Pieter Roozen)

Esther Schreuder is an independent art historian, writer, curator, researcher and advisor based in Amsterdam (Netherlands).


2022- 2019: Schreuder’s main activity: New research project (to result in book and exhibition) funded by the Mondriaan fonds, Fonds Bijzondere Journalistieke Projecten, AFK (Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst) and Hartenfonds. Further 2021: Advisor exhibition Harmen Meurs Stadsmuseum Harderwijk. Essay about Harmen Meurs (publication 2022). Independent advisor Mondriaan fonds.

Further: 2021 publication in:


2020 publication in:

Dutch catalogue and French catalogue

2019: Four publications in Geschiedenis Magazine. Presentation of a paper at the conference Performance, Royalty and the Court, 1500-1800 in April (London). Essay for an exhibition catalogue (2020) will be published by MAS (Museum aan de Stroom, in Antwerp in 2020) and Independent advisor at the Mondriaan Fonds (2019-2021).

2017-2018 Publication of a book, Cupido en Sideron. Twee Moren aan het hof van Oranje, about several black servants at the court of Orange. (2017), Inleiding/introduction of the book
Best books 2017  Trouw https://www.tzum.info/2017/12/nieuws-beste-boeken-2017-volgens-lezers-en-recensenten-trouw/ See more reviews / recensies: here

And Guest curator: African servants at Court in The Hague. ( Sept. 2017-2018 Jan.) Haags Historisch Museum, The Hague.

In this exhibition the Historical Museum of The Hague showcased the lives of the black children Willem Frederik Cupido and Guan Anthony Sideron. Originally from Curaçao and Guinea, as boys in slavery they were presented to stadholder William V as a gift. They went on to spend much of their lives as well-paid servants at the Court in The Hague. Whereas exhibitions about court life generally omit references to servants with a non-European background, this exhibition specifically focuses on servants of African descent. By doing so, the Historical Museum of The Hague is highlighting an aspect of Dutch history that remains relatively unknown.

Research was made possible thanks to the funding:
alle logo's


In the recent past Schreuder wrote the books: CoBrA on the Canal (Samsara, 2013) and 100 years Hotel – Restaurant- Café  Schiller 1912-2012 (2012). She has contributed essays In: The Image of the Black in Western Art volume V part I (Harvard University Press / Cambridge, 2014), The Rainbow Nation with contemporary sculpture from South Africa (W Books, 2012) and more.

Esther Schreuder took the initiative, did the research and was the guest curator of the exhibition Black is beautiful Rubens to Dumas in the Nieuwe Kerk of Amsterdam ( Exh. Catalogue: Waanders, 2008). Film by Tessa Boerman (IDtv). Important advisors Elizabeth McGrath (Rubens and colleagues, Warburg institute collection The Image of the Black in Western Art), Carl Haarnack (slavery in books), Elmer Kolfin (slavery in prints and paintings) en Adi Martis (contemporary art). Gary Schwartz made his research for The Image of the Black in Western Art available to me.

Black is beautiful. Rubens to Dumas (working title Blacks depicted) was an idea en initiative Alette Fleischer and Esther Schreuder. See for more here.

Research / Interests 

  • The Image of the Black in Western Art: all centuries
  • The life of certain black models.
  • European Court culture and Africa
  • Creolisation of Western art
  • Art in the Low Countries
  • Art and politics
  • Interbellum
  • Ernest Mancoba (South-Africa, Denmark, France)
  • Contemporary art in general with an extra interest in South African art and ‘black art’
  • The cultural relations between South Africa and the Netherlands
  • Global Art discussion on theory
  • Hotels and Art
  • Harmen Meurs
  • And more…..
Koninklijke Archieven dag, ‘Below stairs in het archief van de familie Oranje Nassau’ (Photo Ineke Huysman),

Lectures and talks  2015-2019

11-4- 2019 Paper at the conference Performance, Royalty and the Court, 1500-1800 in April (London),

21-6- 2018 Haags Historisch Museum lezing over Willem Frederik Cupido en zijn dochter Wilhelmina Cupido op Nazatendag.

Haags Historisch Museum 21 juni 2018 Cupido nazaten avond. jpg
Haags Historisch Museum, Nazatendag 21 juni 2018 Cupido nazaten avond (foto Kiran Sukul)

13-1- 2018 Afrikaanse bedienden aan het Haagse hof. Vrije Academie lezing in Haags Historisch Museum.

12-12- 2017 De Zwijger (Amsterdam) interview door Jörgen Tjon a Fong voor What’s Up?

10 -12- 2017 Haags Historisch Museum: Museum Jeugd Universiteit: Hoe was het om als Afrikaanse bediende te werken aan het hof?

18-11- 2017 De Interne Keuken Radio

8-11- 2017 Stichting Nassau en Friesland Leeuwarden: Jean Rabo, Willem Frederik Cupido en Guan Anthony Sideron

29-10- 2017 Lezing Haags Historisch Museum Cupido en Sideron

19-10- 2017 Dutch Caribbean Bookclub Talk Haags Historisch Museum (online HHM)

20-9- 2017 Opening tentoonstelling Afrikaanse bedienden aan het Haagse hof.

20-9- 2017 Presentatie boek Cupido en Sideron. Twee Moren aan het hof van Oranje (Balans)

14-9- 2017 Radio OVT over Cupido en Sideron. Twee Moren aan het hof van Oranje.

25 -11- 2016 Presentatie: ‘Below stairs in het archief van de familie Oranje Nassau’. Ter gelegenheid van de presentatie van het jaarboek op in de Gotische Zaal in Den Haag.

2015 Paper at conference Black Portraiture{s} II: Imaging the Black Body and Re-staging Histories New York University / Harvard Florence, Italy at Villa La Pietra.

Research, writing and publications, a selection, see for details Publications page

2019/20  Further research new project, publication in museum catalogue MAS Antwerp

2018/2019 research for a new project, four publications in a Hostory magazine

2018 research and writing 200 years auction house De Zwaan in Amsterdam

2018 research two new projects

2017, ‘Cupido en Sideron. Zwarte dienaars aan het hof’, in: Haagse Historie nr 5 2017

2017 publication: Cupido en Sideron. Twee Moren aan het hof van Oranje (Balans)

2016 ‘Onderzoek doen in het Koninklijk Huisarchief naar: de zwarte bedienden van Willem V’ in: Vorstelijk, Koninklijk, Keizerlijk. Archieven van vorstenhuizen in Europa, (red, Yvonne Bos-Rops, Marijke Bruggeman, Gustaaf Janssens), Jaarboek 16 Stichting Archief publicaties, Den Haag 2016


2014-2017 research Black courtiers at the court of Orange; Research Karel Appel / Door een daad aan het daglicht getreden om zijn schoonheid te tonen; Research works by Jacqueline de Jong

2013 Writing Essay: ‘Painted Blacks and Radical Imagery in the Netherlands’,
‘ in: The Image of the Black in Western Art V. Harvard University Press (publication 2014)

Review New Yorker:  can-we-know-her-a-portrait-of-a-mixed-race-woman

2013 Cobra aan de gracht,  Ambassade Hotel / Samsara publications/ Cobra on the Canal,Ambassade Hotel / Samsara publications (216 pages about CoBrA artists in this private collection).

Review Huff Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-galenson/cobra-on-the-canal_b_4532441.html

2013‘Mooi plaatjes, harde geschiedenis. Het verhaal van de Nederlandse slavernij geschiedenis in beeld’ in: De Nieuwe Liefde magazine: (Comments on  Dutch slavery images)

Anniversary book: 100 years Schiller 1912-2012. Initiative, idea, text and editing (ES). Design and photography Monica Schokkenbroek. September 2012

Essay:  ‘A certain South Africanness’ in: The Rainbow Nation – Hedendaagse beeldhouwkunst uit Zuid-Afrika / The Rainbow Nation with contemporary sculpture from South Africa. Beelden aan zee, summer 2012. Essay in English,  Essay in Nederlands 


2014 January Lyceumclub:  Hotel Schiller in Amsterdam. The history,  the people and the paintings.

2013 November 6-7 Oslo International Black Identity Conference : History, and the representation of the Black Body

2013 February 28 – March 1 Département Pluridisciplinaire des Lettres et Sciences humaines de St-Claude (Université des Antilles-Guyane / Guadeloupe

2013 January 28 Abcoude: The Image of the Black in the Bible

2013 January 12 The Cobra movement and artists in The Ambassade Hotel Amsterdam

2012 November 8  Hotel Schiller Amsterdam: The history,  the people and the paintings.

2012 September 28 Beelden aan zee Scheveningen: Rainbow Nation with Gavin Jantjes and prof  Lize van Robbroeck

2012 April  Harvard Cambridge (MA) USA, W.E.B. DuBois Institute: The Image of the Black V.

2010 October- 2011 Research South African art and “Global art”. See posts MacGarry, HloboGlobal Art discussion, The Global South and other posts on this site. Savah conference Johannesburg / Other views: Art History in (Couth) Afrika and the Global South 12-15 January 2011

Alterating Conditions, GoetheonMain, Johannesburg South Africa
Alterating Conditions, GoetheonMain, Johannesburg South Africa (photo Esther Schreuder)

2009-2010 The image of the Black in the French long eighteenth Century. Research exhibition concept French eightieenth century Art.

2009 Wakaman, drawing lines, connecting dots. Initiators:Gillion Grantsaan and Remy Jungerman. Editing: The book Wakaman, drawing lines connecting dots, contemporary Art Suriname

Moengo groepsfoto Wakaman in wording foto Esther Schreuder
2009 photo Esther Schreuder)  Suriname Moengo Manou Hartsuyker, Remy Jungerman, Lillet Breddels, Rene Tosari, Marcel Pinas, Charl Landvreugd, Iris Kensmil. Patricia Kaersenhout. Kurt Nahar, Orfeo, Marieke Visser en meer

See  <Wakaman>    

2004-2008 Black is beautiful, Rubens to Dumas:  Idea, Initiator, research, curator, writer and editing. Exhibition Nieuwe Kerk Amsterdam.

See more on BB page and  Media on BBand the many posts on this site with texts, written by me, from the exhibition catalogue.

Negerplastieken en moderne meesters

2004 Negerplastieken en moderne meestersCarel van Lier, Museum of Modern Art Arnhem. Research into the exhibitions and art at Kunstzalen Van Lier (between 1927- 1943) and the current whereabouts of these works to the benefit of the exhibition

Liefde uit de Hermitage Waanders De Nieuwe Kerk Amsterdam

2003 Liefde uit de Hermitage/ Love from the Hermitage Nieuwe Kerk Amsterdam. Assistant Vincent Boele and edit. cat.                                                                                    

2002 – 2003 Licht uit spot aan, 50 jaar tv cultuur door de lens Kippa / Spaarnestad fotoarchief/ Kippa. Idea, initiative, research and curator Esther Schreuder, co-curator Tamara Sterman

Aart van der Kuijl in Haarlems Dagblad 2/11/2002:

‘De tentoonstelling in Spaarnestad Fotoarchief is kortom een verrukkelijk feest der herkenning voor jong en oud. Alleen maakt die wel pijnlijk duidelijk dat de expositieruimte van het archief te krap bemeten is, hoe fraai en fantasievol de expositie ook is ingericht’.

 Press about the exhibition

Licht uit Spot aan poster
Parool Ps cover

Support and commisions 

Support: My Projects were supported with funding by: Hartenfonds, Gravin van Bylandt fonds, ArtEsteem, Amsterdams Fonds voor de kunst, Media Fonds, Mondriaan fonds, VSB fonds, Stichting Doen, Prins Bernhard cultuurfonds, Fonds BKVB, Dutch Embassy Suriname.

Commissioners: Haags Historisch Museum, Uitgeverij Balans, Jacqueline de Jong, familie Vrijman, Marjolein Bierens, Ambassade Hotel, Schiller Hotel, Beelden aan Zee (2012),Wakaman project, De Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam / Hermitage Amsterdam (2001-2008), Museum voor Moderne Kunst Arnhem (2001-2004), Universiteit van Amsterdam, Harvard University W.E.B. Du Bois Institute Cambridge USA, Mondriaan fonds (advies), Zam Magazine, Mister Motley, ArtEsteem, Ontwerpwerk, IDtvdocs, Jop Pannekoek filmproducties, Kövesdi International Photo Press Agency (Kippa) and more.


  • Rudolf Steiner School Antwerp
  • Montessori Lyceum / Spinoza Lyceum Amsterdam
  • Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Master Art History and Archeology in 2000 Thesis: Harmen Meurs.Thesis Supervisor Prof. Carel Blotkamp.



Contact : estherschreuderwebsite@gmail.com


>Administrative data and accounts<