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Death is Not the End

In early August, Han Steenbruggen, director of Museum Belvédère, paid me a studio visit. He asked if I would make a painting for the exhibition 'Like Death', as I have made paintings with postcards of artworks.

A number of works immediately came to mind, such as an etching by Käthe Kollwitz, a skull with cigarette by Vincent van Gogh and a painting with dead rooks by Floris Verster. A lot of work has been made around the theme of death. Vanitas still life is a genre in itself: objects that symbolise death, such as a burning candle, a watch, decaying flowers and books. I found a painting by Charlie Toorop with a skull, hammer and empty bottles. By Edvard Munch, a painting of his sister's sickbed stood out to me, and Picasso portrayed a dead friend. I came across a postcard by Klimt, with living people of all ages on the right in the picture and 'Death' behind a tree on the left. I was introduced to George Edmund Butler, who made beautiful work after World War I and chose a watercolour of a woman at a war cemetery. Another mourning woman is Édouard Manet's painting ' Berthe Morisot in mourning'. Among contemporary artists, I could not avoid Marlene Dumas.

During the time I was working on this painting, conversations at home often unwittingly turned to death, farewell and legacy. Fortunately, beauty of art offers solace and with colour and the title 'Death is Not the End', I gave some lightness to the painting.

The exhibition opened on 11 February, while spring is also slowly approaching.

'Death is Not the End', oil on linen, 100 x 140 cm, 2022. On the postcards from left to right: George Edmund Butler, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Käthe Kollwitz, Charlie Toorop, Marlene Dumas, Édouard Manet, Edvard Munch and Gustav Klimt.

The painting with the dead rooks by Floris Verster had been on my list to do a painting before. I wanted to give it full attention on its own and made a second painting for the exhibition with it.

Like Death, 11 February to 11 June 2023, Museum Belvédère.


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