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"Druksel Prints: by Werkman"
2008-07-11 until 2008-10-12
van Gogh Museum
From 11 July 2008, the Van Gogh Museum will play host to the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam with two presentations: ‘Druksel prints’ by Werkman (through 12 October 2008) and Malevich (through 9 November 2008). They form part of the Van Gogh Museum's annual presentations of works from the Stedelijk Museum's rich collection while the museum is being renovated (until the end of 2009). Thanks to the interest of former museum director Willem Sandberg, the Stedelijk Museum holds a large group of works by the artist Hendrik Nicolaas Werkman (1882-1945) in its collection. Werkman made a name for himself as printer for 'De Ploeg' ('The Plough'), an association of artists that revitalised the cultural scene in Groningen in the early years of the 20th century.
After his printing business went bankrupt in 1923, Werkman started experimenting with found materials from his workshop, developing a technique whereby the elements of a particular representation were printed sequentially one by one, either by hand or using the printing press. The resultant works, each of which was unique, he dubbed ‘druksels’. The first sheets are typographical, abstract compositions, but from the 1930s onwards the images became increasingly figurative. This artistic development can be clearly traced in the works on display. The presentation in the print room on the second floor of the museum's Rietveld building has been compiled to mark the publication of the complete catalogue of Werkman's oeuvre and a collection of his correspondence with leading artists he numbered among his circle of friends.
The presentation on the third floor features 17 paintings by Kazimir Malevich (1879-1935) from the Stedelijk Museum's collection, including the masterpieces Women Taking in the Rye and Hieratic Suprematist Cross. The works provide an overview of the Russian artist’s development: from his early work, in which the traces of impressionism and postimpressionism are still clearly apparent, through to the later abstract work. Some of the paintings show an affinity with the world and style of Vincent van Gogh, as can be seen in the farmer figures. Malevich is best known as a pioneer of geometrical-abstract art. In 1915 he launched his new style, 'Suprematism'. Here geometrical shapes are fully autonomous and the instinctual, mystical experience paramount.
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