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Intensely Dutch


Uncompromising, confronting, optimistic – after the Second World War a new young generation of Dutch artists took to modernity as never before. For them it was a time of renewal. Bright colour, impasto and vigorous handling were particular features of the work of many post-war Dutch artists.

This exhibition presents the art of fifteen of the most important Dutch artists of the post-war period, including those associated with the CoBrA movement (Karel Appel, Constant, Corneille and Lucebert) and art informel (Jaap Wagemaker, Jan J Schoonhoven and Bram Bogart) and those who preceded them, like Bram van Velde and Willem de Kooning, who rose to prominence internationally post-war.

The inclusion of paintings, gouaches and drawings by Jan Riske, who has lived and worked in Australia since 1952, is therefore critical to the exhibition, as is the work of Theo Kuijpers, who visited in 1979 and 1985. They each provide an active and tangible link between modern Dutch and Australian art. Similarities between Australian and Dutch artists will be apparent to visitors to the exhibition; for example the work of Ian Fairweather, Arthur Boyd and John Olsen.

The exhibition provides a rare first-hand introduction to modern Dutch art and poetry. There were numerous collaborations between Dutch artists and poets, eg Bert Schierbeek, Jan G Elburg, and Simon Vinkenoog. Several post-war Dutch artists wrote poetry, including Karel Appel, Lucebert and Jaap Nanninga, so selected poems by them will also feature.

The majority of the works included are on loan from ten Dutch public collections, augmented with loans from four Australian public galleries, the Pompidou in Paris and private collectors in the Netherlands, Belgium and Australia. A fully illustrated catalogue will accompany the exhibition, with translations of Dutch poetry (by Dutch-born Australian poet Cornelis Vleeskens), contributions from Dutch curators and biographies of all the artists included.

This exhibition provides a fresh and unexpected introduction to modern Dutch art, as well as the opportunity to see the work of artists rarely shown outside Europe, from public collections with which Australians are largely unfamiliar.

The curator responsible for the exhibition is Hendrik Kolenberg, Senior Curator of Australian Prints, Drawings and Watercolours at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Dutch-born, he has long harboured a desire to present aspects of Dutch art and literature that would interest those of Dutch heritage as well as those in the wider Australian community.

The exhibition is generously sponsored by ING with the support of the Netherlands Embassy in Canberra and Netherlands Consulate General in Sydney.

Don Koch, CEO ING Direct said: “ING is pleased to partner with the Art Gallery of NSW to bring to the public this major Australian exhibition of modern Dutch art. Our Dutch origin means this exhibition holds special meaning for the ING companies in Australia and we are delighted to link our core business of banking, investments, life insurance and retirement services to the visual world of art.”

Intensely Dutch Forum
Friday 5 June, 9am-3pm, Domain Theatre
A series of talks addressing and incorporating art, poetry and film comprise the day-long Intensely Dutch Forum. Distinguished scholar and curator Ludo van Halem, recently appointed as the first Curator of Twentieth-Century Art at Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, will deliver the keynote lecture.
More information

Art After Hours
Beginning in June and running through to the end of August will be a series of celebrity speakers and exhibition floor-talks. These include poetry readings in the exhibition space, floor talks by curator Hendrik Kolenberg and contemporary Dutch-Australian painters and a panel interview of some of the artists with works exhibited in Intensely Dutch.
More information

Special Event: Modern Art at the Rijksmuseum
Saturday 6 June, 11am, Domain Theatre
In 2012-13, after years of renovation, Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum will re-open to the public with a radical new addition to its renowned collection of Old Masters – a new wing of twentieth-century art. The Rijksmuseum’s Director, Wim Pijbes, and Curator of Twentieth-Century Art, Ludo van Halem, discuss this exciting new direction for one of Europe’s most venerated museums.

Film Program
Film program details

Education Programs
K-12 program information

Family Programs
There will be a children’s family trail and children's holiday workshops


Principal Sponsor


On view:5 June - 23 August 2009
Art Gallery of New South Wales
Art Gallery Road, The Domain, Sydney
Telephone:(02) 9225 1744 or recorded information
(02) 9225 1790
National Toll Free 1800 679 278
Hours:10am to 5pm, 7 days a week
Art After Hours Wednesday nights until 9pm
Media Information and Interviews:Claire Martin
(02) 9225 1734 or 0414 437 588

IMAGE CREDIT: Constant L'animal sorcier (The animal sorcerer) 1949 oil on canvas. Collection: Centre Georges Pompidou, Mus�e national d'art moderne, Paris. � Constant/Pictoright. Licensed by Viscopy, 2009; Karel Appel Ontmoeting (encounter) 1951 oil on canvas. Collection: Netherlands Institute for Cultural heritage (on loan to Centraal Museum, Utrecht) � Karel Appel Foundation/Van Lennep Producties, Amsterdam