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Geert van Fastenhout… an abstract master

If you are interested in abstract (constructivist) art , this is one of the truly masterful painters i admire. Geert van Fastenhout follows his own path since 1973. From that year on he developed a style of his own in which he uses sombre colors, but because he choses them carefully the colors still look vivid enough to show the composition of the painting. For me these paintings are very complex because of the use of these dark colors and still they are “open” enough because of the simplicity of the composition. The painting i will discuss now is such a painting. It is SCHILDERIJ 6-1984

This painting was bought by me in the AAG auction some 6 years ago. Even in the catalogue it immediately struck me because of the sombre dark red/brown color against the blacks of the painting.  A large dark brown/blood red cross and 4 squares can be distinguished in this painting and because of the cross, your focus is immediately on the exact middle of the painting. My guess is, it will be perfect for meditation although i never have tried it. Title of this magnificent painting is “schilderij 6-1984″and it fits perfectly in the complete oeuvre by van Fastenhout. A true master of sombre colors and a painting that is in my opinion one of his very best because of its simplicity and complexity in the same time. Mark Rothko was an artist who could do the same in a painting. Make use of colors in such a way that they appeared sombre, but studying it in detail the painting “opened” up and you are amazed by its beauty. The paintings by Geert van Fastenhout have this same quality…….

This is what van Fastenhout says about his works:

Essentially, I don’t want to say much about my work. What I want to express is visible. A book without words? I have considered this but rejected the idea. Although words may lead to misunderstandings, I shall try to keep myself straight on this hazardous path.

In my paintings the form is simple and clear, almost constructed like in architecture. In constrast to this simplicity the colour is enigmatic and should possess a certain sombre splendour. At first you see nothing but a very dark painting indeed. If you allow your eyes to accommodate, you will gradually penetrate this darkness to discover that the senses are getting disoriented.

They are not as well known as the works by Rothko, but for me they are among the very best i have encountered in the last decades.


Geert van Fastenhout lives and works in Amersfoort / the Netherlands

and has a very nice site which you can vist at:

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