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August 25, 2016

Belgian scores De Kooning painting at flea market

Filed under: Art by Orangemaster @ 7:32 pm

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A Belgian man from Turnhout, Jan Starckx, bought a portrait of a young girl in a red dress for 450 euro, which has turned out to be an original Willem de Kooning (shown here), a Dutch-American painter originally from Rotterdam.

Authenticated by experts on the BBC television show ‘Fake or Fortune’, the painting has been valued at between 55,000 and 100,000 euro. Starckx intends to exhibit the work first in Turnhout and then in Sint-Jans-Molenbeek in Brussels where it was painted. In April the work will be brought together with a similar work, ‘Portrait of Renée’ at the Winterthur Museum in Delaware, USA.

“I thought it was a great painting and I was intrigued by the signature that misses the final ‘g’: ‘Wim Koonin’ it says”, explained Starckx.

(Link: deredactie.be, Photo of Willem de Kooning by Smithsonian Institution Archives, some rights reserved)

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August 20, 2016

The gruesome murder of the De Witt brothers was 344 years ago today

Filed under: Art,History by Branko Collin @ 10:58 pm

de-wit-brothers-jan-de-baenThe year was 1672. The 80-year war of independence of the United Provinces against Spain had been hard fought, but had also ushered in a golden age in which trade, science and arts blossomed. Now that progress was halting. The Treaty of Münster in 1648 had seen the recognition of the young Dutch republic as an independent nation, but 24 years later fresh enemies were at the door. England had declared war, followed by France and a bunch of German bishops.

An Anglo-French attack over sea had been thwarted with ease by the mighty Dutch fleet, but the weakened Dutch army could not stop the French from invading over land. The Dutch tried to retreat to the redoubt formed by the Dutch Water Line; a huge lake formed by flooding parts of Utrecht and Brabant. The flooding went slower than expected and it also made the people outside the redoubt feel they were being left to their own devices. People started panicking and started looking for scapegoats.

These scapegoats were found in the brothers Johan and Cornelis de Witt. The former was the grand pensionary of the provinces of Holland and Zeeland, which made him the de facto leader of a federation of provinces that preferred not to have leaders. It also brought him in direct competition with the line of Orange-Nassau which had assumed the stadtholdership and had turned it into a hereditary position. The Oranges were the favourites of many people who saw in the latest heir, William III, a new leader for the new war.

Cornelis had been framed for the crime of conspiracy and had been banished from the country. On 20 August 1672 his brother Johan came to pick him up from prison in The Hague, but outside a mad crowd awaited them. The rabble lynched the brothers, mutilated their bodies and cut parts off. The heart of Johan was cut out of his body and thrown in his face.

The painting shown here was created by Jan de Baen. On the back is written: “These are the corpses of Jan and Cornelis de Witt, painted from life by an important painter, as they were hanging from the gallows at 11 o’clock in the evening. Cornelis is the one without a wig, Jan de Witt has his own hair. This is the only painting painted from life on 20 August 1672 and therefore worth a lot of money.”

According to vandaagindegeschiedenis.nl, “some of their body parts were even traded, taken as souvenirs and eaten. The Haags Historisch Museum owns a tongue and a toe of one or both of the brothers. These became the property of supporters of the brothers who kept them as relics.”

(Illustration: Jan de Baen / Wikimedia Commons)

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July 31, 2016

63 prints hidden in a frame discovered in Oosterhout

Filed under: Art by Branko Collin @ 9:56 pm

print-oosterhout-bn-destem-anonymousWhen fine art painter Willem van der Made saw a print he liked at a car boot sale in Oosterhout last Sunday and found out it was only 5 euro, he didn’t hesitate and bought the work.

When he got home and removed the cardboard back, he found another print hidden underneath. And another and another. The frame turned out to contain 63 lithographic prints in total.

Van der Made told BN De Stem that something did not feel right when he first lifted the frame. It was heavy and thick. “I immediately asked the salesman where he got the print. He told me that an old lady had asked him to clear out her attic which was full of stuff dating back to World War II.”

Van der Made believes that the frame was purpose-built to hide so many prints. “It was hand-made and reasonably deep. The prints all fit in.” The prints all depict biblical scenes. Van der Made wants to sell them as a collection.

(Illustration: BN De Stem, artist unknown)

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July 11, 2016

The fresh faces of the Dutch art scene

Filed under: Art by Branko Collin @ 3:30 pm

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Last week marked the graduation exhibitions of the art academies of Amsterdam and The Hague, and since I had the Wednesday off, I grabbed my camera and raced through the labyrinth that is the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague in two short hours.

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My time there was way too short to form any solid impressions—I saw maybe a quarter of all the works on display. I dare say that there seemed to be minor themes running through the exhibition. A lot of works were displayed in relative darkness. The psychological phenomenon of hoarding came up a couple of times. The bedroom from hell was also something that seemed to have inspired a number of students.

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Art blogger Niek Hendrix noticed something else:

Certain fashionable trends are copied almost verbatim. […] The boundaries between Instagram photos and well thought-out art works is getting thinner and in some cases, you can already speak of proper kitsch. KABK looks like Rietveld in that its artists will seamlessly find a spot in the commercial circuit.

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Apart from Niek Hendrix the bloggers of Mr Motley and Trendbeheer have also visited the nation’s art academies to return with bushels of words and armfuls of photos.

My photo report can be found on our Flickr page.

(Photos from top to bottom depicting works by Daniel Dmyszewicz, Mateusz Tkaczeń, Azra Sudetic, and Olivier Turpin)

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June 24, 2016

Robot to carve stone apostles for Nijmegen

Filed under: Art by Orangemaster @ 7:00 am

Jurgen Braun who restores statues has programmed a robot to carve the 12 apostles out of stone for the Latin school in Nijmegen, Gelderland, a national monument.

The apostles’ socles were eroding and the statues became dangerous, which is why they were taken down. The robot, that hails from Tienhoven, South Holland, can produce one apostle in a week by working 24 hours a day, something a human just can’t do.

Although the robot can do a lot itself, an artist has to intervene in order to complete the statues properly because robots aren’t perfect, explains Braun.

Have a look (in Dutch):

(Link: nos.nl, Photo of Nijmegen and the Waal river by Rein Ketelaars, some rights reserved)

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June 3, 2016

Picasso takes a Dutch holiday in Alkmaar

Filed under: Art by Orangemaster @ 10:59 am

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According to the NOS, Pablo Picasso rarely went on holiday, but in 1905 he took off to the Netherlands. The 23-year-old artist fled the heat and bustle of Paris and stayed several weeks in Schoorl, at the cottage of his acquaintance Tom Schilperoort whom he knew from Paris.

The Alkmaar Municipal Museum is dedicating an exhibition to Picasso’s rare holiday entitled Picasso in Holland, which opens on June 7 and runs until 28 August. The exhibition will show a special reunion of famous paintings never before shown together: ‘La belle Hollandaise’ from Brisbane, Australia and ‘Les trois Hollandaises’ (shown here) from Paris.

According to the museum, Picasso’s painting ‘La famille de saltimbanques’, a family of circus acrobats with a desert-like background said to have been inspired by the dunes in Schoorl.

(Links: nos.nl, dearkitty1, Photo: picassoinholland.nl)

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May 26, 2016

Dutch master has mobile phone in it

Filed under: Art,Technology by Orangemaster @ 9:35 pm

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has been working in Amsterdam this week, and he also decided to soak up some culture by visiting the Rijksmuseum with former European Commissioner Neelie Kroes.

Cook’s eye fell on a painting from 1670 entitled ‘Man handing a letter to a woman in the entrance hall of a house’ by Pieter de Hooch, where the letter looks a bit like a mobile phone. Cook did think it was a Rembrandt because well, why not, and he also thought the letter looked like an iPhone, when it fact it looks more like a smaller type of mobile phone if you ask me.

Until January this year the Mauritshuis in The Hague had an exhibition entitled ‘Dutch Self-Portraits – Selfies of the Golden Age, which definitely has a mobile phone quality to it.

(Link: www.at5, Photo by William Hook, some rights reserved)

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May 11, 2016

Van Gogh painting replicated using plastic bottles

Filed under: Art,General by Orangemaster @ 1:41 pm

A painting by Vincent van Gogh, ‘The Starry Night’, has been replicated by a Taiwanese company using four million colourful plastic bottles with the goal of promoting recycling.

Taking up 53 hectares of the Starry Paradise park on the outskirts of Keelung City, the installation was opened to the public early this year to mark the 125th anniversary of van Gogh’s death.

“We were thinking of combining the idea of environmental protection with PET bottles and this landscape to create a piece of art, so that everyone can get to know another side of recycling,” explained Aisin Yeh, of the Unison Developing Co. Ltd, which undertook the project.

The project cost USD 2.6 mln and took four months to complete, according to the video. Have a look:

(Link: www.reuters.com)

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May 2, 2016

John Cleese opens Silly Walks tunnel in Eindhoven

Filed under: Architecture,Art,General by Orangemaster @ 3:34 pm

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Hundreds of fans of British comedy legend John Cleese huddled in the cold today to greet the man who played a bowler hatted civil servant working for the The Ministry of Silly Walks. Handshakes and autographs were handed out by the 76-year-old actor, invited by Studio Giftig to officially open the renovated Dommel tunnel where graffiti artists have painted all kinds of references to the famous Monty Python sketch.

Cleese showed up in some sort of Australian slippers with no socks, having said that nobody would show up to such a ‘meaningless event’, but he was apparently surprised by all the fuss. Cleese didn’t perform any silly walks himself, also claiming he never was a fan of the sketch in question. Don’t let that rain on your parade and watch the full sketch.

(Link: www.ad.nl, Screenshot of YouTube sketch)

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April 16, 2016

Jan Toorop exhibition at Gemeentemuseum The Hague

Filed under: Art by Branko Collin @ 11:59 pm

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Van Gogh, Mondrian and Toorop: Gemeentemuseum in The Hague calls them the three most important Dutch artists of the late 1800s and early 1900s, and if you have only ever heard of the first two, now’s the time to rectify that.

Apart from mentioning his importance, Toorop is difficult to define. Koen Kleijn writes in Groene Amsterdammer that “the diversity of his work was so great, one could barely speak of a consistent artistic path.”

“If you first encountered the exhibition in The Hague, you could well believe that you were looking at the work of five or six different artists.” Toorop’s paintings and drawings ranged from realistic, engaged work to sunny paintings of flowery women in white dresses sipping tea; and from rich and colourful pointillist paintings to grave works full of symbolism. “This description could create the impression that these periods were all flings, fleeting and uncertain, but that’s not true. Toorop was phenomenally talented. Everything he did, he did splendidly.”

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The exhibition, curator Gerard van Wezel’s life’s work according to NRC, runs until 29 May.

(Images all crops; via Wikimedia Commons here, here and here)

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