HNA is saddened to share news of the loss of Hans J. van Miegroet, Professor of Art and Art History at Duke University. The following tribute was shared by Filip Vermeylen:
Hans Van Miegroet – In memoriam
If you believe that all academics are dull, you obviously never met Hans Van Miegroet, the renowned art market scholar at Duke University. On Friday night, Hans unexpectedly passed away in a car crash near the campus where he taught for decades.
Hans chose to study art history in Ghent, and he distinguished himself as a man of many talents. As a teenager, he composed and recorded a pop song. During his twenties, he turned to drawing and painting, and his first solo show promptly sold out at a local gallery. And not even that long ago when I stopped by his house in North Carolina which, of course, he had designed himself, he revealed that he’d installed a flight simulator. He was training to become a pilot!
His can-do mentality was very un-Belgian, and he found the United States to be a much more suitable environment for his out of the box thinking. He built a great career doing so at Duke University which spanned decades. As a teacher, he was a true performer who could captivate, inspire, and entertain his audience, even if many did not understand his thick Ghent accent. As a researcher, he relentlessly sought and found collaboration across disciplines and geographical boundaries. And when he teamed up with economist Neil De Marchi, they would change the field of art market studies forever. Neil and Hans invited me to join their ongoing workshop in 1998, and this involvement has shaped my thinking on art and economics till this day. And we had countless memorable and fun moments doing it, accompanied by ample quantities of Bordeaux wine (rive gauche vineyards only, Hans would insist).
On a personal level I did not always agree with Hans’ viewpoints, but his generosity and unconditional support for his (younger) colleagues was heartfelt. His ability to let other people shine is not a given in academia, which is yet another reason why many of us feel a deep gratitude to have known and worked with him. He will be sorely missed as the art market studies community has lost one his most colorful and accomplished figures.
Professor of Global Art Markets Director of Research,
Department of Arts and Culture Studies
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication