The Artist Willem van Veldhuizen (Rotterdam 1954) worked over the past 40 years on an extensive body of work. The main theme in his paintings are ‘Museum interiors’.
Van Veldhuizens paintings are generally painted in a fixed composition. A view from inside a space to the outside. The upper part of the canvas shows a wall or glass window through which a garden or an urban landscape is visible. The foreground shows a large floor area. The reality of the buildings, nature or the outside world is reflected in the floors. The upper part of the canvas is painted with a high degree of precision while the lower part of the canvas is generally painted in a more loose manner. Besides painting, Van Veldhuizen is proficient in drawing from life, model drawing. His works are in various private and museum collections. There are also several monographs published. The work of Van Veldhuizen is characterised by the reproduction of an almost unreal empty space, often a museum interior, of which a large part is the floor with a view to the exterior. The reality existing beyond the window is reflected on the gleaming floor. Van Veldhuizen often places elements in the space, such as sculptures or furniture. The interior, the objects and the outside space form a coherent composition that is painted very realistically technically, yet results in a surrealistic picture. Most of his works are unpopulated; the spatial feeling is realised through light, reflection and shadow.
‘It might sound strange, but the first time I experienced a tremendous shock of recognition, I was at a commemoration exhibition of Mark Rothko (1903 – 1970). Even-though my work did not develop in the direction of this kind of abstract expressionism, still it was Rothko’s work that gave me the impulse to go my own way. I saw that it was possible to decide on my own manner in the art of painting’. What struck Willem van Veldhuizen in Rothko’s work was the search for balance on a flat surface, the appeal of a large colored area as well as the vibration of colors on such a large canvas. In his paintings, this fascination is translated in large floor areas of museum interiors. Museums provide Willem with the right kind of rooms: they are prestigious and attentive to architecture while at the same time subservient to accommodate art. It is not that he literally copies the rooms, but by choosing a different composition he creates fictional spaces and alters the view to complement and intensify the image. By visiting various modern museums, he is offered the motive for a new painting. ‘When I’m standing in such a room, I’m impressed by the atmosphere, the peace, the coolness of it all, it strikes me emotionally. I put out my feelers as I wonder how I can shape these emotions. As it takes form in my head, the process of translating an emotional concept into a rational solution begins. The attraction towards the subject is purely emotional. The translation into a painting however is a rational process.’
In general Van Veldhuizen’s paintings are composed according to an established pattern. The upper, narrow part of the canvas shows the back-wall or a glass wall through which a garden is visible. A large floor area holds a prominent place. The reality of the building or the world outside is reflected in the floors. The back part is painted with great precision; this is also the first part to be completed. Then the artist builds up the floor area according to a special technique which he has made his own. After the undercoat has been applied and the shadows have been put in, he ‘splats’ the paint against the canvas: color over color, layer on top of layer – making subtle distinctions in light and dark against the back-wall. (Parts that should not be splut, are covered with tape.) Van Veldhuizen uses this technique in such a way that the paint splats onto the canvas in elliptical drops. This is highly important to create the perspective effect. (During the final strokes, the tiles become visible). Finally the artist applies approximately 40 layers of glaze onto the floor area to create this typical glossy three dimensional effect. Discipline and great technical skills are required for the kind of paintings that Van Veldhuizen makes. Because of this method, it takes up to 3 or 4 months to finish a painting. Van Veldhuizen mastered this technique by self-tuition. Furthermore he submitted the paintings of Peter Blake, one of England’s best-known pop art artists, to a profound study. According to Van Veldhuizen, Peter Blake displays a fabulous technique. Influences of classical- and classic-modern masters (beside Rothko) can be recognized in his work in various ways. He relates to Saenredam with his preference for sacred rooms, tranquility and colors in harmonizing tones. In his museum interiors, Van Veldhuizen quotes with pleasure his favorites in art, among others Michelangelo, Picasso, Man Ray, Newman, Rietveld and Le Corbusier. In his early work, the colors are kept restraint by putting various light tones in delicate distinctions in order to achieve a balance in beauty and tranquility. His recent work is characterized by a more expressive use of color although the color is still subsidiary to the form. Also the interior itself contains less details. Still the balance between the inside and outside world holds the key to Van Veldhuizen’s paintings.
1954 Born in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
1972-1977 The academy of fine Arts, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
1977 Solo exhibition, Gallery Delta, Rotterdam, The Netherlands Group exhibition: Dutch Art Fair, Amsterdam; Pulchri Studio, Den Haag; Fiac, Paris
1978 Bronze medal European prize for the Art of painting Karel Klinkenbergprize for Art of drawing Royal Subsidy for painting
1979 Stipendium Rotterdamse Kunststichting Travels to the United States
1980 Portret Edo de Waart for the Rotterdamse Doelen i.o.v. RKS and the Rotterdams Phil- harmonisch Orchestra Renaissance-travel to Italy
1984 Travels to Ireland.
1985 Exhibition Gallery Delta, Rotterdam
1989-1991 Publication of the book ‘Willem van Veldhuizen; tekeningen & schilderijen’ Travels to Spain A series of paintings, inspired by the Barcelona Pavilion, Mies van der Rohe
1992-1995 Exhibitions; European Fine Arts Fair, Maastricht PAN, Amsterdam Drs. Loek Brons, Amsterdam New series of graphic work Starts drawing after model Exhibition ‘het Model’ in the Illusie, Rotterdam Starts working on ceramics Travels to France and starts series of paintings inspired by museums in Nimes and Saint- Paul de Vence Publication of the book ‘het Model’
1996 Exhibitions; European Fine Arts Fair, Maastricht PAN, Amsterdam Drs. Loek Brons, Amsterdam
1997 Exhibitions; European Fine Arts Fair, Maastricht PAN, Amsterdam Drs. Loek Brons, Amsterdam Travels to United States and starts series of paintings inspired by museums in New York and Los Angeles Exhibition ‘Hier et Nu’ model drawings in Gallery Honingen, Rotterdam Makes Lithographs, commissioned by Royal Nederland
1998 Exhibitions; European Fine Arts Fair, Maastricht PAN, Amsterdam Drs. Loek Brons, Amsterdam Travels to Senegal, foundation of ‘I BORY’ . ‘Ibory’ is a group of artists; Anton Vrede, Jos Looise and Willem van Veldhuizen. They make travels and work together Group exhibition ‘I BORY’ in gallery Honingen, Rotterdam
1999 Exhibitions; European Fine Arts Fair, Maastricht PAN, Amsterdam Drs. Loek Brons, Amsterdam Studiereis naar New York met ‘I BORY’ groep Groepstentoonstelling ‘Weekend Euphoria’ , galerie Holland Tunnel, New York. Travels to New York with ‘I BORY’ group Group exhibition ‘Weekend Euphoria’ , gallery Holland Tunnel, New York
2000 Travels to; Zwitserland, Japan, India en starts series of paintings inspired by ‘Foundation Beyeler’, Basel.
2001 Exhibitions; European Fine Arts Fair, Maastricht PAN, Amsterdam Drs. Loek Brons, Amsterdam Exhibition ‘Realism in The Netherlands after 1950’ in the Kunsthal, Rottedam Publication of the book: ‘Willem van Veldhuizen 10 jaar bij kunsthandel Drs.Loek Brons’
2002 Exhibitions; European Fine Arts Fair, Maastricht PAN, Amsterdam Drs. Loek Brons, Amsterdam Exhibition ‘Les filles d’atelier’ in the Kunsthal, Rottedam Travels to Qatar
2003 Exhibitions; European Fine Arts Fair, Maastricht PAN, Amsterdam Drs. Loek Brons, Amsterdam Exhibition ‘Donderdag exposeert….’ in gallery Pakhuis 6, Rottedam Travels to Qatar
2004 Exhibitions; European Fine Arts Fair, Maastricht PAN, Amsterdam Drs. Loek Brons, Amsterdam Publication of the book: ‘Klaar’
2005 Paintersweek Domburg Exhibition ‘Donderdag exposeert….’ at gallery Pakhuis 6, Rottedam Drawing at ‘The day of the Park’, Schiedam happening met de Donderdagroep Donderdagroep at Gallery Goda, Amsterdam Exhibition at the PAN Amsterdam, Collection Harms Rolde Travels to Egypt
2006 Exhibition at ‘Realisme 06’, Collection Harms Rolde Exhibition Magische Grafiek at gallery Pakhuis 6, Rotterdam Exhibition solo at Gallery Goda, Amsterdam Paintersweek at Domburg Exhibition at Gallery Les Sagnes, France Travels to Caracas, Venezuela Exhibition Gubbels and Students, Rotterdam Drawing at ‘The Night of the Light’, Schiedam, happening with the Donderdagroep Exhibition at the PAN Amsterdam, Collection Harms Rolde
2007 Exhibition ‘Van Classicisme tot Realisme’ at Wijermars Antiquairs in collaboration with Collection Harms Rolde Exhibition at ‘Realisme 07’ Collection Harms Rolde Exhibition group ‘Een andere werkelijkheid’ Zwijgershoek, st Niklaas, Belgium Travels to Sao Paulo, Brasil Exhibition at the PAN Amsterdam, Collection Harms Rolde
2008 Exhibition at ‘Realisme 08’ Collection Harms Rolde Travels to Qatar Exhibition at Open Art Fair Jaarbeurs Utrecht, Collection Harms Rolde Donderdagroep op Drift, Schiedam drawing in public Travels to New York Exhibition at the PAN Amsterdam, Collection Harms Rolde
2009 Exhibition at ‘Realisme 09’ Collection Harms Rolde Exhibition Donderdagroep at gallery Van Capellen Travels to Qatar Painters on the Loire, France with Old Holland Factory Exhibition at the PAN Amsterdam, Collection Harms Rolde
2010 Dutch Art Now, the Armoryshow New York Exhibition Artantique, Utrecht, with Collection Harms Rolde Travels to Istanbul Exhibition at the PAN Amsterdam, Collection Harms Rolde
2011 Open Studio ‘Trouvailles’ Exhibition Artantique, Mark Peet Visser Gallery Travels to Barcelona and Paris Exhibition at the PAN Amsterdam, Collection Harms Rolde
2012 Exhibition at ‘Realisme 12’, Mark Peet Visser Gallery Exhibition at Gallery Mark Peet Visser, Realisme Exhibition Exhibition Artantique, Utrecht, Mark Peet Visser Gallery Travels to Londen and Basel
2013 Exhibition at ‘Realisme 13’, Amsterdam, Mark Peet Visser Gallery Exhibition at ART 2013, Utrecht, Mark Peet Visser Gallery Travels to Paris and Basel
Bronze medal Europe prize for Painting
Karelklinkenberg prize for the Art of Drawing
Royal Subsidy for Painting.
Stipendium Rotterdam Art Council
Gold Medal of Honour as a member of the advisoryboard of the Al Thani Award for Photography