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  • Manhattan Masters, works from the Frick Collection; Mauritshuis, The Hague

    Frans Hals

    It is said that the very great Titian (1488/90-1576) maintained that a good painter only needed the colours black, white and red.

    Frans Hals (detail)

    Looking at this brilliant portrait by Frans Hals (1582/83-1666) one might easily agree, although the red is only present mixed with ochres in the face of the sitter.

    Frans Hals (detail)

    It is one of the ten paintings from the Frick Collection, New York, presently on show at the Mauritshuis Museum in The Hague, and as such it is a good opportunity to see some of its famous works.

    Isack van Ostade

    Getting back to Titian, one would think Isack van Ostade (1621-1649; brother to the more famous Adriaen van Ostade) wasn’t a good painter, except if you replace black and white with dark and light. The red is centred very much in the action in front of the tavern.

    Rembrandt van Rijn

    An absolute highlight of the Frick’s Dutch paintings is of course this majestic self-portrait by Rembrandt (1606-1669), one of the must-sees of the exhibition. It is again the dark, light and red which are important.

    Rembrandt van Rijn (detail)

    The light highlights the face of the painter against the dark background, while the red sash gives a strong accent to the rest of the figure.

    Follower of Rembrandt van Rijn

    There is also a portrait by a follower or student of Rembrandt’s. In fact it is quite a rembrandtesque painting and quite a good one for that. One might also call it titianesque with black being the main pigment of the painting, with smaller white accents and only some red in the lips of the sitter.

    Philips Wouwerman

    In this small work by Philips Wouwerman (1619-1668) the red is more spread over the group of soldiers, while there are some strong white accents in the horses. As a whole it is a virtuoso composition with different structures, tones and shapes.

    Carel van der Pluym

    According to the catalogue Frick purchased this painting by Carel van der Pluym (1625-1672) believing it was a Rembrandt, and so paying far too much money for it. Van der Pluym was a student of Rembrandt’s but clearly not one of his best. The whole composition looks like a hotchpotch of different parts. The face looks as if it is added to a puppet, the difference in tone of the hands is unexplainable and the red of the dress is boring and amateurish.

    Johannes Vermeer

    This famous painting by Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675) is quite a different story and it is the other absolute highlight (and even more than that as far as i am concerned) of the exhibition. The difference with Van der Pluym’s gibberish couldn’t be greater.

    Johannes Vermeer (detail)

    Look at that brilliant red with its different shades of the soldier’s coat, returning in the decorations on his black hat, just in front of the bright, white light of the open window and opposed to the lively character of the smiling lady. What an absolute wonder it is, whether you look at it as a three-dimensional scene or as a flat abstract composition.

    Aelbert Cuyp

    In this work by Aelbert Cuyp (1620-1691) the red is in the cow at the left, the black is in the standing cow and the white is in the shepherd’s shirt, the rest is just Cuyp.

    Jacob van Ruisdael

    The monumental painting by Jacob van Ruisdael (1628/29-1682) has some of the usual ingredients of his invented landscapes: an old oak tree, a winding path, something with water, more trees, a deep horizon and a dramatic sky. Still you may have the idea that the Mauritshuis’ own, much smaller View of Haarlem is a far more brilliant work.

    Jacob van Ruisdael, Philips Wouwerman (?) (detail)

    The figures in the landscape – the noblemen (or nobleman and his servant), the two horses, the huntsman and his dog and the fisherman – are said to be painted by Wouwerman. Indeed the red in the cloak of the figure on the left and the red in the fisherman’s cap give some life to the whole composition. The same can be said about the red-coated figure in the foreground of the landscape by Meindert Hobbema (1638-1709), as usual more anecdotal, with a weaker perspective and with paler tones than in his teacher Ruisdael’s works.

    Concluding: the three most impressive paintings are by the usual suspects Hals, Rembrandt and Vermeer, nice surprises are the small work by Wouwerman and the portrait by the Rembrandt follower/student, the absolute lowest point is the work by Van der Pluym, while the Ruisdael is not the most brilliant one you could dream of by that master.

    Meindert Hobbema

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    © Villa Next Door 2022

    Contents of all photographs courtesy to the Frick Collection, New York and to the Mauritshuis, Den Haag

    Bertus Pieters

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  • Satoru Hoshino & Chung Hsi-Han, Texture; SinArts Gallery, The Hague

    Satoru Hoshino

    Although SinArts Gallery tries to show art by Chinese artists and artists from the Chinese diaspora, it also puts its art into a broader international context: the Southeast Asian and the West European contexts.

    Satoru Hoshino

    In the present exhibition it shows works by the Japanese artist Satoru Hoshino (1945) and the Dutch artist with Chinese-Indonesian roots Chung Hsi-Han (1958).

    Satoru Hoshino

    Satoru Hoshino’s ceramic sculptures show the ultimate use of clay.

    Satoru Hoshino

    Clay, when used for modelling, gives a certain resistance in that it will always maintain its volume.

    Satoru Hoshino

    If you push or press it, it will bulge beneath your hands.

    Satoru Hoshino

    It will always react, it will always have the last word, which creates, especially in Satoru Hoshino’s works, a kind of dialogue between the artist and his material.

    Satoru Hoshino

    In Hoshino’s ceramic sculptures the volumes of clay almost become a kind of organic creatures.

    Chung Hsi-Han

    To make the story even more international, Chung Hsi-Han especially found inspiration in Nepal, where he also discovered Nepali paper on which the presented works are made.

    Chung Hsi-Han

    Also with Nepali paper one could say that it is the paper which has the last word.

    Chung Hsi-Han

    It both resists and absorbs in such a way that you may wonder what the next stage in Chung Hsi-Han’s work may be.

    Chung Hsi-Han

    Will he show us both sides of the paper next time?

    Chung Hsi-Han

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    © Villa Next Door 2022

    Contents of all photographs courtesy to Satoru Hoshino, Chung Hsi-Han and to SinArts Gallery, Den Haag

    Bertus Pieters

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  • Neighbour North Sea; Quartair, The Hague

    Tanja Engelberts

    If Egypt is the Gift of the Nile, the Netherlands are the Gift of the North Sea.

    Astrid Nobel

    The North Sea gives this country international trade, fish and other seafood, oil, wind energy, sand, recreation, communication, fertile land, an enormous sewer, enviable wealth and economic power.

    Astrid Nobel

    The Dutch derive their self-importance from its supposedly heroic battle with the sea water.

    Astrid Nobel

    With the rising of the sea levels due to climate change, this battle may well become less heroic.

    Astrid Nobel

    Moreover, the Dutch seem to take the North Sea for granted; its economic and military exploitation continues intensively.

    Astrid Nobel

    In doing so, the idea of necessity is usually directly linked to an efficient business model.

    Sheng-Wen Lo

    To the Dutch necessity means business: if there is no business in it, it is not necessary.

    Sheng-Wen Lo

    In that they don’t differ from their North Sea neighbours Germany, Denmark, Norway, Britain, France and Belgium.

    Sheng-Wen Lo

    It’s just that the Dutch derive their national pride from it.

    Laura Schippers

    The North Sea also gave Dutch art the idea of seascapes.

    Laura Schippers

    Especially the ones from the seventeenth century became immensely popular nationally and internationally, and laid the foundation for an artistic tradition.

    Laura Schippers

    A more postmodern or post-postmodern tradition can be experienced in Quartair’s present show Neighbour North Sea, featuring works by Tanja Engelberts (1987), Sheng-Wen Lo (1987), Astrid Nobel (1983) and Laura Schippers (1985).

    Tanja Engelberts

    Indeed some of the exploitation of our maritime neighbour can be seen and interpreted in the show.

    Tanja Engelberts

    However, it also shows very diverse aesthetics and ways of seeing and feeling.

    Tanja Engelberts

    Whether it is the monumentality of an obsolete oil platform, or the sheer magic of the sea itself.

    Tanja Engelberts

    By the way, i wrote an article about one of the works on show by Astrid Nobel in Villa La Repubblica. Click here to read the article in VLR (in Dutch).

    Tanja Engelberts

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    © Villa Next Door 2022

    Contents of all photographs courtesy to the artists and to Quartair, Den Haag

    Bertus Pieters

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  • Façades of The Hague #154

    Block with shops and apartments, Hoefkade in between Doedijnstraat and Jacob Catsstraat.

    It was built around the beginning of this century as part of the renovation and rehabilitation of the whole neighbourhood.

    Undeniably the quality of the housing has strongly improved.

    However, the architecture is rather matter-of-fact and painfully unremarkable compared to the elegant and colourful façade that used to adorn the corner of Jacob Catsstraat and Hoefkade.

     © Villa Next Door 2022

    All pictures were taken in March 2020.

    Bertus Pieters

    Façades of The Hague from #146 onwards: https://villanextdoor3.wordpress.com/category/facades-of-the-hague/

    Façades of The Hague #1 – 71: https://villanextdoor.wordpress.com/category/facades-of-the-hague/

    Façades of The Hague #72 – 145: https://villanextdoor2.wordpress.com/category/facades-of-the-hague/

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  • Hans Arp, The Final Work; Kunstmuseum, The Hague & Bezuidenhoutseweg, The Hague

    The things / we call lifeless / are not lifeless at all. / They often rub / their hands with glee / and laugh up / their sleeves / for joy at / not being human

    Well, there you are: more than twenty pictures about an exhibition at Kunstmuseum The Hague, with only eight objects.

    And three of them are even omitted in this report! But what an exhibition it is! It is all about the last stone sculpture made by Hans /Jean (depending whether you are more German or French inclined) Arp (1886-1966), and today still on public show along Bezuidenhoutseweg.

    Arp was asked in 1964 to make a sculpture for the then new and modern neighbourhood.

    It became Scrutant l’horizon (Looking out over the Horizon), which was placed in 1966.

    The whole story of how the work was commissioned and made can now be seen and read in the Kunstmuseum.

    The museum obtained Arp’s plaster model for the work in 1964.

    After Arp’s death some bronze casts were made of this plaster model, two of which are now on show, together with the plaster model.

    That in itself already makes it a great but intimate show.

    At least, it caused a kind of photographic frenzy in me, as you can see here.

    The sheer repetition of the sculpture and the difference in patina of the two bronzes are a feast for the eyes.

    As such this small presentation is both art historically and aesthetically a gem.

    Apart from the three Scrutant l’horizons there are five more works by Arp on show, a sculpture and two reliefs amongst others.

    Arp was also a prolific poet in both German and French and two examples, in both languages, are present in the show, breaking the barriers between seeing and reading.

    in infinite space / he stood / on his left arm / holding up the earth / with his right arm / when the bursts of fire / from fallen angels hit him // an incandescent fruit / a terrifying fruit / beat in his breast

    The German poem is more deliberate in its content, while the French poem grows in the mind like his sculptures.

    If there would be a shortcoming in the exhibition, it should be the fact that there is no recent picture of the present state of the public work on show.

    So, the next day i rushed to Bezuidenhoutseweg to make a few pictures of Scrutant l’horizon there, which are included here as well.

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    © Villa Next Door 2022

    Contents of all photographs courtesy to the estate of Hans Arp and to Kunstmuseum, Den Haag

    Bertus Pieters

    VILLA NEXT DOOR IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ADVERTISING ON THIS PAGE!!

  • Thank you PARTS Project!

    Lucio Fontana

    Last Sunday PARTS Project in The Hague closed its doors after almost seven years.

    Jann Haworth
    Diet Sayler
    Ewerdt Hilgemann
    Jaap van den Ende

    It showed 23 projects, and when the planning wasn’t congruent with time or reality, it hosted other exhibitions.

    Jaap van den Ende
    Jan Van Den Dobbelsteen
    Jan Van Den Dobbelsteen

    It gave us an idea of private collecting, i.e. the artistically interesting and passionate part of it.

    Gutai
    Jeroen Doorenweerd
    Jos van Merendonk
    Jos van Merendonk

    Almost all 23 projects were intriguing and all of them of high quality.

    Pim Voorneman
    Marijn van Kreij
    Bob Law, Jos van Merendonk

    Initiator Cees van den Burg always put a maximum of energy into the shows, although when reality worked out not to synchronise with PARTS’ idealism it was clear the energy had to be diverted.

    Bob Law
    Paul Neagu
    Paul Neagu
    Peter Bogers

    Anyway, it was an interesting, inspiring and fruitful period in The Hague’s recent exhibition history, and personally i am extremely grateful to Cees and his foundation for inducing this.

    Peter Bogers
    Robert Holyhead
    Robert Holyhead
    Shah Jahan

    Surely, many will have the same feelings and will experience the closure of PARTS Project at Toussaintkade as a bitter loss.

    Shah Jahan
    Werner Cuvelier
    Werner Cuvelier
    Zhang Shujian

    A big thank you to PARTS Project!

    Zhang Shujian

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    © Villa Next Door 2022

    Contents of all photographs courtesy to the (estates of the) artists, the owners of the works and the PARTS Project Foundation, Den Haag

    Bertus Pieters

    VILLA NEXT DOOR IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ADVERTISING ON THIS PAGE!!

  • It might be a mirage; West, The Hague

    James Richards, Leslie Thornton

    A few days ago i went to It might be a mirage at West to write a review for Villa La Repubblica. As it happened it became an article about this exhibition as well as about the present shows at PARTS Project and Billytown. Click here to read the review in VLR (in Dutch).

    James Richards, Leslie Thornton

    Having written already quite a lot about this presentation in VLR, and, indeed, it being more like a mirage than an exhibition, i recommend you to take your time and see this show for yourself. I just leave you here with a few aspects without comments.

    James Richards, Leslie Thornton

    James Richards, Tolia Astakhishvili

    James Richards, Tolia Astakhishvili

    James Richards

    James Richards

    James Richards

    Moshe Ninio
    Danh Vo

    Danh Vo

    Danh Vo

    Moshe Ninio

    Wolfgang Plöger

    Wolfgang Plöger

    Wolfgang Plöger

    Wolfgang Plöger

    Robert Kusmirowski

    Robert Kusmirowski

    Robert Kusmirowski

    David Claerbout

    Click here to read the review in VLR (in Dutch).

    Moshe Ninio

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    © Villa Next Door 2022

    Contents of all photographs courtesy to the artists, the owners of the works and of West, Den Haag

    Bertus Pieters

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  • Façades of The Hague #153

    Bentinck House, Lange Voorhout.

    The house originated as a merger of different properties in the 17th century. Around 1700 it functioned as a town house of Hans Willem Bentinck (1649-1709), Earl of Portland, and it stayed in the hands of the Bentinck family until the beginning of the 19th century.

    In the 18th century it had an elaborate Louis XIV style façade with profiled bays.

    Unfortunately this was lost with later restorations and renovations.

    Hans Willem Bentinck was the favourite and most important politician and diplomat as well as personal friend of William III (1650-1702), Prince of Orange, Stadtholder of the Dutch republic and King of England.

    Bentinck acted as a diplomat between England and the Republic, as an adviser to the king in his political, administrative and private affairs and as an army commander. His son, Willem Bentinck (1704-1774), who used the town house as well, was adviser to Stadtholder William IV (1711-1751) of the Republic and was in fact instrumental in making him stadtholder and making the stadtholdership hereditary for William’s offspring.

    Some time ago, the building, a state monument, was restored again (as you can see in the first pictures) and equipped with modern environment friendly features.

    Today it is used by the Personal Information Authority and by the Justice and Security Inspectorate.

    “On 10 May 1940, the German invasion drew the Netherlands into World War II. In this building, which housed the General Headquarters of the Supreme Commander of the Army and Navy, Commander-in-Chief General H.G. Winkelman decided to capitulate on 14 May 1940.”

    © Villa Next Door 2022

    The first five pictures were taken in March 2020, the last four pictures in October 2022.

    Bertus Pieters

    Façades of The Hague from #146 onwards: https://villanextdoor3.wordpress.com/category/facades-of-the-hague/

    Façades of The Hague #1 – 71: https://villanextdoor.wordpress.com/category/facades-of-the-hague/

    Façades of The Hague #72 – 145: https://villanextdoor2.wordpress.com/category/facades-of-the-hague/

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  • Land of the Few and Far Between; Billytown, The Hague

    Lucia Nimková & Sholto Dobie

    Some time ago I went to the present exhibition at Billytown to write a review for Villa La Repubblica. As it happened it became an article about this exhibition as well as about the present shows at PARTS Project and West. Click here to read the review in VLR (in Dutch).

    Nishiko

    Having written already quite a bit in VLR about this show, I leave you here with some pictures, but, of course, it is better to go and take a look yourself.

    Thomas Swinkels

    Frans van Abeelen

    Kim David Bots

    Thomas Swinkels

    Bernice Nauta

    Paulien Oltheten

    Paulien Oltheten (detail)

    Thomas Swinkels (detail)

    Sarah Rosengarten

    Arno Westerberg

    Jo Spier

    Thomas Swinkels

    Kim David Bots

    Bernice Nauta

    Arno Westerberg
    Nishiko

    Nishiko

    Click here to read the review in Villa La Repubblica (in Dutch).

    Nishiko

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    © Villa Next Door 2022

    Contents of all photographs courtesy to (the estate of) the artists and Billytown, Den Haag

    Bertus Pieters

    VILLA NEXT DOOR IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ADVERTISING ON THIS PAGE!!

  • Collecting Collection, Personal Reflection, Works an Stories from the Agnes & Frits Becht Collection; PARTS Project, The Hague

    The other day i went to see the very last exhibition at PARTS Project to write a review for Villa La Repubblica. As it happened it became an article about this exhibition as well as about the present shows at Billytown and West. Click here to read the review in VLR (in Dutch).

    Wim T. Schippers (detail)

    This show about the Agnes and Frits Becht Collection is the third in a series about well-known Dutch private collections which contain an important part of Dutch modern and contemporary heritage.

    Wim T. Schippers

    Having written already quite a bit in VLR about this show, i leave you here with some pictures, but not without urging you to see the exhibition yourself as soon as you can.

    Jan Dibbets

    Ger van Elk

    Mimmo Rotella

    Mimmo Rotella

    Lucio Fontana
    Tetsumi Kudo

    Co Westerik (detail)

    Hubert Bekman

    Berend Hoekstra

    Marlene Dumas

    Kees de Goede
    Natasja Kensmil (detail)

    Click here to read the review in Villa La Repubblica (in Dutch).

    Jann Haworth

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    © Villa Next Door 2022

    Contents of all photographs courtesy to (the estates of) the artists, the Agnes & Frits Becht Collection and PARTS Project, Den Haag

    Bertus Pieters

    VILLA NEXT DOOR IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ADVERTISING ON THIS PAGE!!

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