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Biography of Jaap Gardenier
Author of a powerful, intense and bewitching work, the Dutch painter, drawer, etcher, lithographer Jaap Gardenier was born in Delft in 1930. He never attended any Art School or Art academy.
He will study Art History at the University of Amsterdam.
Towards the end of his studies, during a University class on artistic materials he discovers his passion for drawing and painting. He gets more and more absorbed by this new world opening to him. He will then bravely give up the idea of completing his Ph.D to entirely devote himself to painting.
In 1961 he travels to Lacoste in the South of France where he meets and strikes up a friendship with Sven Blomberg, a Swedish painter who belonged to the Victor Pasmore group. That same year, Gardenier has his first exhibition in Eindhoven, in the Netherlands.
In 1962 Jaap Gardenier definitely leaves Holland to settle in France in an old deserted farmhouse in the Alpes de Haute Provence.
In his work, the emotion he feels in observing the unlimited richness of the world that surrounds us, forms the basis of his pictorial explorations.
Landscapes, urban and harbours scenes, through a rich scale of colours, obtain a great psychic presence in the abstract construction of his paintings and watercolours.
The route of this autodidactic painter is marked by series trying to capture a subject. With the passing years Gardenier has been inspired by numerous motifs such as : Sceneries of Provence, the lavender distillery, the slaughterhouse of Grosage in the Borinage (Belgium), the coast of Connemara in Ireland, the deserted industrial harbour of l’Estaque (near Marseille) in France, the world of Harlem and Brooklyn in New-York and within the last years of his life, the human face as a psychic mirror in a series of masks and faces of women and men, often pictured in couple as if confronting.
Jaap Gardenier was open to many pictorial worlds and all through his lifetime as a painter he admired the works of many artists of different time : among others we may mention Brueghel, Vermeer, Goya, Degas, Van Gogh, Pierre Bonnard, Picasso or Nicolas de Staël and Francis Bacon, but more contemporary artists as well such as David Hockney.
Jaap Gardenier is a singular artist whose work is both figurative and abstract at the same time. He always refused pure abstraction, and paints or draws from an observation of reality : his paintings, etchings or drawings are always inspired by something he has seen, either landscapes or human beings. But in the same way Nicolas de Staël did it, he only keeps the lines of force of these sceneries and machinery or the outlines of men.
Theses images are not an accurate duplication of what he has seen but an epure of it.
“If the sight of the world where we are living, its most amazing and its most ordinary forms remain the basis, the starting point of my work, it is precisely because I am convinced that this confrontation to the visible world offers a painter the only way of escaping harshness, recurrence, futile academism and mannerism.” Jaap Gardenier.
Jaap Gardenier passed away in 2009.