Friday, December 1, 2006

GOING DUTCH: Forty Years of Dutch Art & ...

if ART Gallery presents an exhibition and print sale covering 40 years of Dutch art in its gallery at 1223 Lincoln Street, Columbia, SC, December 10 – 24. The opening reception on Friday, December 10, 5 – 9 p.m., also will feature Dutch food and music. if ART Gallery will be open Christmas Eve until 7:00 p.m.
            The exhibition and print sale will feature the two Dutch artists represented by the gallery, Kees Salentijn and Sjaak Korsten; American Sam Middleton, who has lived in the Netherlands for some 50 years; several internationally famous Dutch artists whose prints the gallery carries, such as Karel Appel, Lucebert, Hannes Postma, Bram van Velde and Ger Lataster; and three dozen recently acquired, 1960s and 1970s prints by 17 Dutch artists produced through the legendary Amsterdam print studio Prent 190.
            Prent 190 in the mid-1960s was an initiative of visual arts organizer Louis Gans. Gans’ intent was to make original fine art available to a wider public. For about $125, people could join Prent 190 and receive 10 prints per year. Members did not know what they would get, though they knew which artists would be featured in a year. Gans each year usually included seven Dutch artists and three artists from abroad. A few artists would be famous headliners, the others, young and upcoming artists. Many in the latter category have become prominent artists themselves.
            The Prent 190 lithos, etchings, drypoints, silkscreens and woodcuts in the if ART exhibition and print sale will be priced at $200 ­­– $500, making them affordable for the wide audiences Gans had in mind. Other prints in the exhibition and sale will be priced from $100 and up. In addition to prints, the exhibition will include paintings, unique works on paper and collages.
            The name of Gans’ initiative, Prent 190, referred to the edition size of the prints published by the initiative. The prints were typically, though not always, printed by one of the Netherland’s most prominent post-World War II print makers, Piet Clement, in Amsterdam.
            Among the prints in the show are the 1968 Hot Dog USA and 1969 Hot Dog/Coca Cola lithographs by Jan Cremer, who gained enormous international fame in the 1960s with his “on the road”, autobiographical novel I, Jan Cremer, which became an international bestseller. Cremer also gained fame in the United States because of his affair with actress Jane Mansfield.
The print sale also includes work by some of the most prominent Dutch artists of the past half century, including the artists mentioned above and Willem Hussem, Jan Montyn, J.C.J van der Heyden, Peter Struyken, Guillaume Le Roy, Pierre van Soest, Mark Brusse, Co Westerik and Martin Engelman.


RONALD ABRAM (Dutch, 1938 – 1999)

Ronald “Ronny” Abram was a Dutch Op Art artist. He was represented at the
1973 Biennale de Paris. Among the museums that have his work is the Jewish Historic Museum in Amsterdam. Abrams’ work still appears at auction regularly.

PAT ANDREA (Dutch, b. 1942)

Pat Andrea is considered among Europe’s most prominent illustrators and Magic-Realist painters. He is a rare exception as someone with a big reputation as a fine artist despite his extensive work as an illustrator. Andrea, whose parents were renowned artists, studied with Co Westerik at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in The Hague. His career is truly international. Andrea travels extensively, especially through Europe and North and South America. He splits time between his homes and studios in Paris and Buenos Aires, where he went in the 1970s after the likeminded artist Guillermo Roux invited him for a visit. Since 1998, he has taught at the prestigious École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts in Paris. His paintings, painted in classical techniques, are full of paradoxes and typically feature women. They seem like visions of a personal reality presented through nudes, aggressive dogs but also lovely flowers. The images combine aggression and sexuality with a dreamlike atmosphere.  “Pat Andrea’s painting may constitute a reaction to all forms of sexual conservatism,” curator Anna Printezi wrote for a 2001 retrospective at Athens’ Frissiras Museum, which focuses on contemporary European paintings. “His female protagonists and the overt sexuality in his works seem to want to take us back to the ‘fertility’-related interpretation of things; to the simple and eternal cycle of seasons. Of course, the male is always present in his work, often depicted as an animal-like carnivore.” Andrea recently created large paintings based on Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, which were included as illustrations in a new edition of Lewis Carroll’s works. An exhibition of the paintings traveled to Greece, France, The Netherlands and Spain, where it closed in November 2010 at the Arts Santa Monica contemporary art center. Andrea’s work is in prominent museums all over Europe, South America and in the United States, including the Centre Pompidou in France and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

KAREL APPEL (DUTCH, 1921-2006)

Karel Appel was among the stars of the 1950s-1960s international art world. In 1948, he was a co-founder of CoBrA, a group of Northern European artists whose work was related to, but developed independently from, American Abstract Expressionism. He moved to Paris, which, along with New York, became his main base. Like other CoBrA artists, Appel retained figuration at first in his freely painted, vigorous and colorful paintings, though he later went through non-objective stages. Appel was prolific and constantly reinvented himself as an artist during his long, active career. In addition to paintings, drawings and sculptures, he painted murals and worked in ceramics, stage design and stained glass. Appel also was a poet and recorded experimental music. In 1954, he won the UNESCO Prize at the Venice Biennale. Appel’s work is in museums across the world, including New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Guggenheim Museum and Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minn., London’s Tate Gallery, the Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Madrid’s Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum.

MARK BRUSSE (Dutch, b. 1937)

In the Dutch city of Arnhem, Mark Brusse, who lives in Paris, in the mid-1950s formed with Klaas Gubbels, Rik van Bentum, Jan Cremer and others a lively local art scene with a national and international reach, where even Robert Rauschenberg would stop by. In 1960, Brusse moved to Paris and met Nouveau Realistes and Fluxus artists, including Yves Klein, Arman, Jean Tinguely and Daniel Spoerri. He didn’t join but learned that to sculpt you didn’t have to hack into marble. After Dutch author Cees Nooteboom helped arrange a stipend, Brusse stayed in New York between 1965 and 1967. Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum director Edy de Wilde introduced him to Leo Castelli, who introduced him to the Pop Art crowd.  Brusse became a regular at Andy Warhol’s Factory and Claes Oldenburg’s studio parties, collaborated with Fluxus artists, including John Cage, and created environments. After Brusse went to Berlin in 1970, Cage played music each day for a week in a Brusse exhibition there. Brusse also created an installation of streaming sand to accompany Cage’s music. In Bern, Switzerland, he showed with Warhol, Tinguely and Jesús Rafael Soto, filling a room with wood, as he had done before. Brusse created assemblage sculptures of discarded wood and found objects, such as strings, chains and pulleys. “Happiness lies in the streets, just don’t step over it,” he has said.  “I walk around in constant, dumb amazement.” He called his early work Clôtures, Strange Fruits and Soft Machines. In a 1963 Brusse catalogue, William Burroughs, author of the 1961 novel The Soft Machine, called Brusse’s machines “the ironic enigma of machines with no function.” Brusse has traveled extensively, especially to the Far East and South America. His sculptures, installations, paintings, drawings, glassware and ceramics are strongly influenced by these foreign cultures. Brusse has exhibited and created public art across the globe, including monumental works in Seoul. His work is in museums and public collections throughout Europe, Latin America and Asia, including the National Gallery in Berlin; South Korea’s Moran Museum and National Museum of Contemporary Art; Iceland’s National Museum; Museo de la Solidaridad in Peru; and the National Museum in Havana, Cuba. A 2010 retrospective of his work traveled to several French museums.

DICK CASSÉE (Dutch, b. 1931)

Dick Cassée is among The Netherlands’ prominent post- World War II sculptors and printmakers. With other sculptors such as Bob Bonies and Carel Visser he was among the main representatives of nonfigurative Constructivism in Dutch printmaking. Cassée, who also works as a painter and photographer, was among the artist who pioneered printmaking in The Netherlands after the war, especially producing relief prints such as etchings, drypoints and metal-plate embossings. Space and nature often were the subjects of his prints, of which he captured the essence through a few simple lines. Cassée’s work is in the collections of museums throughout The Netherlands. He has exhibited at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague and Museum Boymans-van Beuningen in Rotterdam as well as in France, the former Yugoslavia, Germany, Belgium and Japan. The University of Leiden, The Netherlands, in 2001 organized a retrospective of his prints from the period 1966–1979. De Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is preparing a book about him and his complete oeuvre.

JAN CREMER (Dutch, b. 1940)

Author and visual artist Jan Cremer gained instant international fame with his 1964 “on the road,” autobiographical novel I, Jan Cremer, which became an international bestseller. He also gained fame in the United States because of his affair with actress Jane Mansfield. Cremer, a prolific print maker, in the 1960s was the loud, obnoxious enfant terrible of the Dutch art and literary worlds. He loved to shock and was good at it, resisting 1950s mores with wild art, inspired by CoBrA and especially Karel Appel, and in his novels, with tales of his sexual exploits. “Rembrandt? Who’s that? I don’t know anything about sports,” he once proclaimed. He once put the then-outrageous amount of one million Dutch guilders as the price of one of his paintings. In the 1960s, his work developed toward Pop Art, his imagery including hot dogs, cows, Dutch landscapes, tulips, women with their genitals on display or a 1980 series of 16 Warhol-like portraits, all of himself in his I, Jan Cremer years. By the late 1980s, while keeping his subject matter, his style turned more toward abstract expressionism again. Cremer has had solo exhibitions in museums and galleries throughout Europe. He also has shown at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Carnegie Hall in New York and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. His work is in the collections of scores of European museums as well as in those of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., the Art Institute of Chicago, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Philadelphia Art Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

THEO DAAMEN (Dutch, b. 1939)

Theo Daamen is a painter, print maker and mixed media artist whose main focus is the figure as well as dance and animals. His personages appear to have an air of distance and privacy. Daamen is married to ceramic artist Heidi Daamen-Meijer (b. 1940). His father is Dutch painter Kreel Daamen (1916–1993). Daamen is still active and is represented by Galerie Petit in Amsterdam, his hometown. His work frequently appears at auction . In 1986, he was selected to paint a portrait of Dutch literary giant Gerrit Komrij for the Letterkundig Museum (Museum for the Written Word) in The Hague. Komrij once wrote three poems based on one of Daamen’s etchings. Daamen has exhibited across The Netherlands, including the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague.  His work is in the collection of the museum in The Hague, Amsterdam's Stedelijk Museum and the Singer Museum in Laren, The Netherlands. An artist file on Daamen is included in the Smithsonian Libraries’ Collection.

 MARTIN ENGELMAN (Dutch, 1924 – 1992)

Martin Engelman first made a name throughout Europe as a typographer, graphic designer and set and exhibition designer. In the late 1950s, he moved toward fine art exclusively, both as a painter and printmaker. His first gallery solo exhibition was at age 36 in 1960 in Paris.  Lithographs, woodcuts, etchings and aquatints became an important part of his oeuvre, and Engelman produced some 200 limited edition prints. Engelman’s style and subject matter showed a rather individual approach that had connections to 1950s European art but was decidedly on the periphery of the dominant 1960s art movements. He absorbed influences from old Dutch masters such as Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Breughel as well as 20th-century movements such as Surrealism and CoBrA, creating work inhabited by strange creatures, animal-human hybrids, dolls and mythological figures. During a stay in the United States in 1965, he worked in Herman Cherry’s New York studio. Engelman had several solo exhibitions in the United States and showed across Europe, including at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Denmark’s Louisiana Museum of Art, Whitechapel Art Gallery in London and Rome’s Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna. In 1964, he was represented at Documenta III in Kassel, Germany.

J.C.J. VAN DER HEYDEN (Dutch, b. 1928)

Around 1960, J. C. J. van der Heyden (aka J.C.J. Vanderheyden or Jacques van der Heyden) worked as an expressionist but subsequently became one of the great experimenters in Dutch art, creating aside from paintings, a large body of photographs, prints, videos, sound and other installations, conceptual art and writings. In 1970, he drilled a hole in his living room to New Zealand, not quite getting there but mixing soil from both ends. His work is known for its sensitive, abstracted inquiries into the effects of light, space and time and the relationship between seeing and processing what we see. He typically executes his work in minimal, delicate fashion, creating tension between abstraction and figuration. Art historian, curator and museum director Rudi Fuchs in 1963 visited Van der Heyden’s studio and found it not to be a workshop but, in line with the artist’s interest in installation art, “a construction which mirrored the construction of his work: a cabinet of constructions.” Van der Heyden was working like others throughout the world, Fuchs observed. Like Luciano Fabro in Milan, A.R. Penck in Dresden, Daniel Buren in Paris, Sigmar Polke in Dusseldorf and Donald Judd in New York, Van der Heyden approached art as a form to be manipulated intellectually, regardless of “ordinary” reality. But, Fuchs added, at that time those artists “were not yet acquainted.” Van der Heyden has had major exhibitions in most of The Netherlands’ premier museums, including the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the Centraal Museum in Utrecht, Museum Boymans-van Beuningen in Rotterdam, the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven and the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague. He also showed at the European Art Center in Xiamen, China, and in France, Belgium, Portugal, Denmark and Japan. Van der Heyden was represented at Dokumenta VII in 1982 in Kassel, Germany, for which Fuchs was the curator.

WILLEM HUSSEM (Dutch, 1900 – 1974)

After having lived in the south of France and Paris from the early 1920s until 1936, painter, sculptor and poet Willem Hussem settled in The Hague, where he became the core figure in the vibrant local arts and literary scene.  From his regular table in café De Posthoorn, Hussem became a kind of “art pope” whose opinions on art were much sought after by young artists and somewhat feared. He was a member of several important artist groups who introduced modern art to The Netherlands, such as the Experimentelen, Vrij Beelden and Liga Nieuw Beelden.  Hussem’s work initially was influenced by Picasso, whom he had met in Paris. From the late 1930s, Hussem’s paintings became more abstract and calligraphic, putting him on the road toward becoming one of the country’s most celebrated non-objective painters.  In the 1960s, his work became more geometric with increasingly clear and sober forms. Hussem several times was awarded the prestigious Jacob Maris Prize and in 1960 represented The Netherlands at the Venice Biennale. Though he was considered by many to be an artist of international stature, Hussem always had trouble making ends meet. His work is in the collections of most major Dutch museums, including the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague. His work still is widely exhibited and sold in the Netherlands. In October 2010, cultural center Cultuuranker Escamp in The Hague organized a month-long Willem Hussem Festival, celebrating the restoration of a large Hussem mural in the cultural center.

JACQUELINE DE JONG (Dutch, b. 1939)

Jacquiline de Jong has been involved with Europe’s avant-garde art movements since the early 1960s.  “De Jong seemingly knew or worked with everyone,” England’s The Guardian wrote in 2003 at the occasion of De Jong’s retrospective at Amsterdam’s CoBrA Museum.  “De Jong is one of the 20th century’s boldest, most autobiographical female artists.” In 1959, De Jong went to Paris, where she met CoBrA co-founder Asger Jorn, with whom she had an affair until 1970. Through Jorn she joined the notoriously fractured Situationist International and collected documents related to the movement. The SI was a politically radical movement that strongly affected the European counterculture of the 1960s and thereafter, being blamed, The Guardian wrote, “for everything from the 1968 revolutions to the Sex Pistols.” Having been purged in 1962 by SI leader Guy Debord, who expelled most SI members, De Jong went her own situationist way. She published The Situationist Times between 1962 – 1967, enlisting the help of Wifredo Lam, Roberto Matta, Pierre Alechinsky, Jorn and others. She organized “happenings” and in 1968 created posters for the Paris student uprising, keeping copies for the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. Since returning to Amsterdam in 1970, De Jong has split her time between that city and France. In addition to maintaining her archive of avant-garde movements, De Jong has produced a large and versatile body of art. Both her ferocious 1960s abstracts and CoBrA-like, more representational paintings and her figurative later works are characterized by force and color. She has produced prints, ceramics, sculptures and large murals, created a monumental action painting during a fashion show and was seen eating a penis-shaped sandwich in a TV documentary. De Jong’s work has been shown throughout Europe and is in the collection of scores of museums, including Paris’ Centre Pompidou, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, MOCCA Toronto and the Konstmuseum Goteborg in Sweden. In 2009, she was invited to appear at the New School of Social Research in New York and interviewed for an exhibition at Yale University. For Italy’s Biennale di Ceramica dell’Arte Contemporanea she created with German artist Jonathan Meese ceramics for the home and garden of Asger Jorn, who died in 1973.

Sjaak Korsten (b. 1957)

Sjaak Korsten is widely known and respected as an artist in his native The Netherlands, where he lives in small-town Helden. He works in established post-World War II European modern and contemporary traditions, not in the least that of Art Informel, a more subdued European cousin of Abstract Expressionism. In addition to mixed media works on paper, Korsten creates paintings, sculptures and installations. He is represented by major Dutch galleries and in museum, corporate and private collections, including that of Dutch Queen Beatrix. His work has been shown at major European fairs, including TEFAF Maastricht, PAN Amsterdam and the Cologne Art Fair.

GER LATASTER (Dutch, b. 1920)

In the wake of the CoBrA revolution of the late 1940s-early 1950s, Ger Lataster received extensive international attention, though he did not belong to CoBrA. From early figurative paintings inspired by the Fauves and Matisse, Lataster in the 1950s developed an Abstract-Expressionist style that largely bypassed CoBrA’s incorporation of figurative elements, aligning itself more with American Abstract Expressionism. Lataster spent 1965-1966 in the United States and had solo gallery shows in New York and Minneapolis, where he taught. Around this time, representative elements crept back into his work’s always abstract and fiercely expressionist context. That interaction between representation and the language of Abstract Expressionism characterizes his work to the present day.
Lataster has had museum and gallery shows throughout Europe, including at the 1959 Kassel Dokumenta II in Germany, and a 1960 solo exhibition at Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum. In the United States, he showed at New York’s Guggenheim Museum, which acquired his work, as did New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Institute, the Knox-Albright Museum in Buffalo, N.Y., and Harvard University’s Fogg Art Museum.

GUILLAUME LE ROY (Dutch, 1938 – 2008)

Guillaume Le Roy was an artist committed to printmaking who in his 50-year career focused almost exclusively on woodcuts and etchings. Engrossed with the technical side of his métier, he was considered, also among his colleagues, as a master of the relief print.  “I etch when I want to make things a woodcut can’t do,” he said, “and vice versa. I have to be able to scratch and bite. […] A printmaker simply works very different than a painter. The painter adds something, paint, and the etcher or woodcutter, on the other hand, eliminates something.” For his first woodcuts in the late 1950s, he used discarded tabletops from his parents’ restaurant, and he would continue to use discarded wood, which he liked for its built-in relief. During two years in Paris in the early 1960s, Le Roy met and was influenced by Bram van Velde and Alberto Giacometti. After Paris, he settled in Amsterdam. There he met the prominent printmaker Piet Clement, who printed most of work for the legendary print publisher Prent 190. Including de Le Roy woodcuts in this show. Le Roy also frequently showed in Clement’s gallery, Printshop, which now is called Galerie Clement. Though he used color in the 1960s, Le Roy’s work was characterized in part by his dominant use of black, gray and white. “Black and white have, after all, the most color,” he once said.  His work often gave the appearance of doors, windows and other portals toward light. Without darkness, Le Roy argued, there is no light; without mystery, no clarity. Creating abstracts didn’t stop Le Roy from making several series based on literary works and poetry, for instance of Comte de Lautrémont, Martin Buber, Baudelaire and the Dutch poet Bert Schierbeek.  Rather than illustrate, he tried to make the unspeakable visible. “In my work, what matters is what you evoke, not what you create.” Le Roy exhibited extensively in The Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe, and his work is in most major Dutch museums, including Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum and the Van Bommel van Dam Museum in Venlo. In 2010, the CoBrA museum in Amsterdam organized an exhibition of 40 works by Le Roy, mostly woodcuts.

LUCEBERT (Dutch, 1924-1994)

Lucebert (Lubertus Jacobus Swaanswijk) is possibly The Netherlands’ most prominent post-World War II poet. He was a member of the late-1940s Dutch Experimental Group, which preceded the CoBrA group and included writers and visual artists. CoBrA, which existed for a few years around 1950, also was multidisciplinary, and Lucebert participated primarily as a poet who illustrated his poems. It was his success as a poet that gave Lucebert in the late 1950s the financial means to paint in oils. The figurative expressionism and elementary figuration of his paintings and drawings fit in easily with CoBrA, though his work was more narrative and satirical with connections to Francis Bacon’s portraiture and George Grosz’s and Otto Dix’s biting depiction of humanity. In the United States, Lucebert’s work is in New York’s Guggenheim Museum and Museum of Modern Art and Florida’s Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art. His work also is in museums across Europe, including Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum and CoBrA Museum, the Tate Gallery in London and the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin. Lucebert participated in Germany’s Kassel Dokumenta and at the 1962 Venice Biennale won a major prize for his graphic work. In 1986, the Stedelijk Museum acquired more than 800 of his works.

HAN MES (Dutch, b. 1936)

During a career that has spanned almost 50 years, Han Mes has worked mostly as a painter. After completing her art education at the academy in Amsterdam, she received a fellowship to live and work in Paris for several years. After Paris, she moved to Amsterdam and then to the Dutch seaside town of Bergen, not far from Amsterdam. Mes is mostly known for her figurative work, though she has increasingly focused on nature and landscape as well. Her figurative scenes are not typically anecdotal but mystical tableaux that suggest a continuation beyond the edges of the work.  Her early black-and-white lithos are unusual in that Mes’ work is best know for an atmospheric use of color, though the transparent and seemingly out-of-focus quality of her paintings is reflected in her early lithos. Mes has exhibited widely in The Netherlands. In particular, three large exhibitions at the Singer Museum in Laren put her on the map.

SAM MIDDLETON (American, b. 1927)

Sam Middleton in the 1960s established himself as one of The Netherlands’ premier artists. Throughout his career, the Harlem, N.Y., native’s abstracted collages and prints with representational elements have been inspired by jazz, though the Dutch landscape also provided an impetus. In the early 1950s, Middleton was part of New York’s Cedar Tavern scene. In 1955 he moved to Mexico, then Spain, Sweden and Denmark, settling in The Netherlands in 1961. Middleton was part of the considerable contingency of expatriate African-American artists in Europe. In the late 1950s-early 1960s, he regularly was included in American exhibitions, including at New York’s Whitney Museum and Brooklyn Museum and the Baltimore Museum of Fine Art. From Europe, he sustained his reputation in the United States, resulting in his inclusion in several prominent books on African-American art. Middleton’s work is in the collections of the Whitney Museum, Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn., the Hampton (Va.) University Museum and Washington, D.C.’s Howard University. His work is in museums in Australia, Israel and The Netherlands, including Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum and Venlo’s Van Bommel Van Dam Museum, which in 1997 organized a Middleton retrospective.

JAN MONTYN (Dutch, b. 1924)

The self-taught painter, printmaker and poet Jan Montyn has developed a strong international reputation for especially his color etchings and drypoints. Montyn also is known for, and often defined by, his checkered and disturbing past. As an adventurous youth rebelling against his strong Calvinist upbringing, he joined a German youth group during World War II and fought in the German Navy, which he barely survived. He then fought for the German army on the East front. After the war, he joined France’s Foreign Legion but escaped soon after signing up. Back in The Netherlands, he found little acceptance as a former German collaborator. He was sent to a reform school for juveniles for three years. He then joined a United Nations unit of Dutch volunteers during the Korean War. After his return, he joined the Dutch marines. Montyn suffered a severe mental crisis, spending time in a psychiatric facility. He coped with depression and episodes of violence in part by writing extensively about his life.  In Vietnam during the war, Montyn did humanitarian work with children.  Kirkus Review wrote of a Montyn biography,  A Lamb to Slaughter, by Dirk Ayelt Kooiman: “Enough agony and adventure for a dozen lives packed into a fast-paced, breathless, often gripping book.” Montyn has traveled extensively, going especially to North Africa and Asia, and developed an interest in Buddhism and Hinduism. He keeps studios in The Netherlands, France and Thailand. As an artist, he increasingly focused on etching and drypoint after in the late 1950s meeting the legendary Dutch printmaker Anton Heyboer, who gave him his first small press. The directness and unforgiving nature of the print techniques appealed more to Montyn than the soft stroke of the paintbrush. In his images, Montyn combines abstracted and representational forms, often personal signs and symbols, to relate spirituality. War, travel and landscape as a projection of human emotion are central to his work. Montyn increasingly used color after initially working mostly in monochromatic earth tones. Montyn has exhibited extensively internationally. His work is in many Dutch, American, French, German, Thai and Japanese museums, including Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum, Museum Boymans-van Boymans in Rotterdam and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

HANNES POSTMA (Dutch, b. 1933)

Hannes Postma built a reputation in Europe in the 1960s with especially his etching and aquatints and lithography. Postma was fascinated with children’s drawings and interested in spontaneous experimentation. The figurative expressionist work inhabited with floating, entangled, bulky figures seemed related to the CoBrA legacy in The Netherlands, and Postma admired CoBrA artists such as Karel Appel and Lucebert as well as Art Brut artist Jean Dubuffet. Postma never belonged to or associated with the CoBrA movement or its members, though, and denies being influenced by them. His later paintings had strong Surrealist, architectural and constructivist tendencies. Postma’s work is in New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the Pasadena (Calif.) Norton Simon Museum, the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum, Museum Boymans van Beuningen in Rotterdam, the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem, the Netherlands, the Modern Art Museum and National Museum in Stockholm, Sweden, the Modern Art Museum in Malmö, Sweden, the Kunsthalle in Hamburg, Germany, and many other museums across Europe. His 1999 career retrospective was at Arnhem’s Museum voor Moderne Kunst and the Dordrecht’s Museum, both in The Netherlands. 

 KEES SALENTIJN (Dutch, b. 1947)

Kees Salentijn is among The Netherlands’ most prominent painters. The initial inspiration leading to his mature style came from post-war American art, including Jackson Pollock, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Tom Wesselman, Arshile Gorky, Adolph Gottlieb, and above all Dutchman Willem de Kooning. It also came from Spanish painters such as Antoni Tapies, Antonio Saura, and later Manalo Millares. Salentijn developed a personal style that combined the expressionist, painterly swat with smaller but equally expressionist marks that are quick and slightly nervous but sure. Salentijn, wrote Leo Duppen, the former director of The Netherlands’ CoBrA Museum, draws like a painter and paints like a draftsman. Combining vigorous painting with often-childlike imagery, Salentijn’s work eventually placed him in the Northern European, post-war CoBrA tradition of strongly expressionist, abstracted art that contained representational elements. Salentijn’s increased use of figuration in the 1990s confirmed this link. His work is in several European museums. In addition to the 1982 Chicago Art Fair, his work has been represented at major European art fairs, including Art Fair Basel, TEFAF Maastricht, Kunstmesse Cologne and KunstRAI Amsterdam. 

PIERRE VAN SOEST (Dutch, 1930 – 2001)

Pierre van Soest was one of the so-called “Amsterdam Limburgers, “ artists from the conservative southern Dutch province of Limburg who after World War II moved to Amsterdam to become an important force in the modernization of Dutch art – and that of their home province. Aside from Van Soest, the group included Ger Lataster, Jef Diederen, Pieter Defesche and Lei Molin.  In addition to becoming a prominent post-CoBrA, somewhat lyrical abstract-expressionist painter,  Van Soest executed numerous monumental murals and concrete reliefs for public and private buildings. Eventually, he introduced figurative elements into his work, creating a tension between abstraction and representation. Since the late 1960s, Van Soest often worked in serial motifs, such as “umbrellas,” “insect” or “weekend movie” and later “landscapes” and “asparagus,” a vegetable that, in its white variety, his home region of the North of Limburg is known for. Van Soest also incorporated in his work art historical references to paintings by Jan van Eijck, Pieter Bruegel the Elder and Hieronymus Bosch.  Van Soest had solo exhibitions throughout The Netherlands and in Denmark, Australia, Curacao, Belgium and Germany. His work was included in scores of group shows in Spain, Egypt, South Africa, Poland, France and numerous Latin American and Scandinavian countries.

PETER STRUYCKEN (Dutch, b. 1939)

After the early 1960s, computer art pioneer Peter Struyken moved from figurative paintings to geometric abstractions, experimenting with shape and color. Since the late 1960s, Struycken has experimented with computer designs, becoming an early, internationally influential artist in that area.  To him, computers help with grasping complexities in design, structure and light and with the creation of logical, consistent patterns to achieve multiple shapes, colors and processes based on the same underlying structure.  Struyken executes his art in a variety of media, including paintings, drawings, films, installations and huge public commissions that often include a light component.  He has experimented with the relationships between image and sound. Struyken in 1978-1979 worked on projection experiments at the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  He has completed well over a hundred public, private and corporate commissions, often working with architects. He created a two-dimensional color structure for the Rijksmuseum Kroller-Muller in the Netherlands, an installation of computer-driven lights in the ceiling of Amsterdam’s opera, a light sculpture for the Dutch National Architecture Institute in Rotterdam and Blauwe Golven (Blue Waves), a large rolling sculptural and architectural creation underneath a bridge in the Dutch city of Arnhem.  Struyken’s commissions were at the core of a large 2007 exhibition, The Digital Paradise, at the Groninger Museum in The Netherlands. He has created a computer-generated projection for a dance performance. In a figurative aberration, Struyken also designed a Dutch postage stamp, depicting a portrait of Queen Beatrix in dots.  Struyken’s first retrospective was in 1966 at Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum. He was represented at the 1967 Sao Paulo Bienale and the 2008 5th Seoul International Media Art Biennale. In 1969, he was in European Painters Today, an exhibition of a who’s who in European painting at New York’s Jewish Museum.  In 1983, a Struyken film was included in The Second Link: Viewpoints On Video In The Eighties, the first internationally touring exhibition of video art, which traveled to the Stedelijk Museum, New York’s Museum of Modern Art and elsewhere. Struyken’s work has been exhibited in, and is in the collections of, museums worldwide. 

BRAM VAN VELDE (Dutch, 1895-1981)

In Europe, Bram van Velde is a legendary mid-century modernist. He moved to Paris in 1925 and spent most of his active career there. He’s a main representative of Art Informel, a 1940s-1950s European equivalent of Abstract Expressionism. Van Velde in the 1940s arrived at his mature, non-objective style, which consists of dynamic lines that form fluid shapes, often with a vertical pull, amounting to gentle, somewhat introverted but energetic paintings. Lithography was an important part of Van Velde’s oeuvre. Despite his relationship to Abstract Expressionism, 1940s and 1960s exhibitions at New York’s Samuel M. Kootz and Knoedler galleries were unsuccessful. A 1968 show at Knoedler did, however, receive critical acclaim. Van Velde’s work is major museums worldwide, including Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Institute, Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and London’s Tate Gallery. Van Velde’s 1989 Centre Pompidou retrospective also traveled to Spain and The Netherlands.

CO WESTERIK (Dutch, b. 1924)

Co Westerik is among the most unique, remarkable and respected Dutch artists of the past half-century. Always an individualist, his mostly figurative paintings, drawings, lithographs and etchings did not fit the dominant art movements of the 1950s and 1960s, which caused a delay in the appreciation for his work. Since the early 1970s, he has split his time between the South of France and Rotterdam.
Westerik is a meticulous painter who only produces a handful of paintings per year, sometimes taking years to finish one. He creates typically small paintings in which he highlights, seemingly with a sense of wonder, little daily events in a straightforward but unexpected manner. The drama of a finger cut on grass. A close up of the side of a man’s face shaving. Fingers dipping a cookie in a cup of tea. A man and his bicycle. His particular brand of distorted figuration and representation provides a twist that adds a psychological quality to the work.  Westerik achieves a Magic-Realist touch, even though he forgoes that approach’s typical juxtaposition of realistic elements in a fantastical scene. He has received many of The Netherlands’ most prestigious art prizes, won a silver medal at the Sao Paulo Biennial and represented his country several times at the Venice Biennial. His work is in the collection of most prominent Dutch museums, including the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Museum Boymans-van Beuningen in Rotterdam, the Groninger Museum in Groningen, the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague and the Museum voor Moderne Kunst in Arnhem. In addition to many Dutch museums, Westerik has had solo exhibitions in museums and galleries in Belgium, Germany and Italy. He has been represented in group shows in these countries as well as in Great Britain, the U.S.A., Canada, France, Greece and Japan.

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