The German art historian Eike Schmidt, who has been at the helm of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence since 2015, has announced that he will be leaving his post in the second half of 2019 to take up the leadership of Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum, starting in 2020.
The first non-Italian to head the Uffizi, Schmidt will leave at the end of his four-year tenure, not entering a second mandate as many had expected he would. The 49-year-old director was initially appointed as part of the Italian government’s sweeping overhaul of the leadership positions in Italy’s leading cultural institutions under culture minister Dario Franceschini.
At the Uffizi, Schmidt set out to improve the museum experience and increase revenue by holding music and film nights during off-peak hours, renting out spaces to fashion houses, and other novel initiatives. He renovated galleries, cut the queues, changed the ticket-pricing system, and reorganized the museum’s curatorial structure. As a staunch advocate of digitalization, he also successfully launched the Uffizi’s first Twitter and Instagram accounts.
“I’ve been able to do a lot so far, much more than I would have dared to imagine,” Schmidt told the German Press Agency dpa. “I think that at the end of my time in Florence, the museum will by run itself.”