Ruf resigned in mid-October
amidst questions over whether her paid, private art advisory services were in conflict with her role as steward of a public institution. In her first interview since then, Ruf told the Times
over email that her outside activities had been approved by the Stedelijk
’s board. She also said the $500,000 in profit she received in 2015 represented part of a farewell bonus from her former client, Swiss collector Michael Ringier, as a “thank you” for 20 years of work, and did not represent any ongoing service provision. In October, the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad
published an investigation into her earnings at Currentmatters, her art advisory firm, which far exceeded her $130,000 annual salary at the Stedelijk Museum. “Choices that museum directors make about exhibitions affect the market value of works of art, and if the director is simultaneously advising private clients, the ethical lines can become blurred,” the Times
wrote. But if she fully disclosed her activities to the board and they were approved, the blame may lie with the board, said Jo Houben, director of an art-related Dutch nonprofit, when interviewed by the Times
. The museum’s supervisory board, which was responsible for overseeing Ruf, has commissioned a pair of independent investigations into the affair. The findings of both reports will be made available to the public.