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Han Klinkhamer (1950)

The paintings by Han Klinkhamer show landscape in two respects. First, the view of the land opens up, with the painting serving as a window that opens up the view of a horizon, a sky and contours of trees, shrubs or flowers.
At the same time, each painting has a very independent rough structure, the artist has put a lot of work into the texture – it often looks like the magnification of a surface or a cutout from nature. These two perspectives – far away and close – are combined without the focus being affected. Or, in other words, Klinkhamer’s works combine a spiritual image with a material, physical view of real landscapes.
The artist lives in a village directly behind a dike on the Meuse. He only has to climb this dike if he wants to see water, meadows or the moving sky. Nevertheless, one does not feel as if his paintings depict this outer world. Although his works deal with nature, his daily encounter with the elements undoubtedly serves as a framework for him. But the true landscape is created in the studio – “true” here means the landscape created with color, conjured up. Sometimes one gets the impression that plant stems or grains of sand are added to the colour. But the illusion arises from the thickness of the paint layer and scratching with a sharp tool, everything is painted.
Klinkhamer’s works are about the transformation of nature into paintings – and about making this transformation look authentic and credible. As far as the colour spectrum is concerned, Klinkhamer is limited. One almost gets the impression that he is hiding the colors in the motifs. Is this perhaps due to the limited colour diversity of the Dutch river landscape, where Klinkhamer is at home? Hardly. The colours are determined in the studio, in the painter’s head, in the image he wants to create, by the inner truth of the respective image. There is always a primer, often in black or white, and the potential for color, which, however, is reluctant to appear – as if the viewer witnessed the moment of the first rays of sunshine when things take on color. Then we can indeed see a hint of green in the black, and a hint of pink in white.
Do these images radiate a love of nature? Maybe, yes. On the other hand, however, there is also effort and struggle, a pulling and pulling. “With every picture,” says the artist, “you have to start from scratch as if it were the very first image.” Klinkhamer’s paintings thus address not only the outside world, but also the inner landscapes, moods and convictions – without words, and yet as an essential part of the paintings. has several books on Klinkhamer now available.


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