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Jan van Heel (1898-1990)

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Another artist from the Netherlands who promises to grow more important by the year is Jan van Heel. Van Heel has become popular among art lovers in the region of Den Haag , because of his clown paintings. A bit like Bernard Buffet became popular by a larger audience through his portraits of Clowns faces.

but although he stayed true to realism, his paintings have a child like quality. Wether these are his clown portraits or bird cage scenes. there is always a simplicity in his works that reminds me of drawings by children. Van Heel was promoted by Knoester art, but since Ton Knoester died some years ago, his paintings appear at local auctions without any financial backup and they fetch small prices at auction, making this the perfect time to buy van Heel. www.ftn-books.com has some nice publications on van Heel and de NIEUWE HAAGSE SCHOOL

jan van heel welling

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Camille Bombois (1883-1970)

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Camille Bombois (February 3, 1883 – June 6, 1970) was a French naïve painter especially noted for paintings of circus scenes.

Bombois was born in Venarey-les-Laumes in the Côte-d’Or, under humble circumstances. His childhood was spent living on a barge and attending a local school until the age of twelve, when he became a farm worker. During his free time he drew and competed in wrestling competitions at local fairs. He became a champion local wrestler before joining a traveling circus as a strongman and wrestler.


In 1907, Bombois fulfilled his dream of moving to Paris, where he married and worked as a railway laborer, eventually finding a night job at a newspaper printing plant handling heavy newsprint rolls. Despite the exhausting nature of his job he painted from dawn to dusk, sleeping little. He showed his paintings in sidewalk exhibitions, but his earliest paintings, revealing the influence of the old masters in their subdued use of color, attracted few buyers.

1914 marked the beginning of four-and-a-half years of military service in World War I. Bombois spent much of it on the front line, earning three decorations for bravery. Upon his return home, encouraged that his wife had succeeded in selling a number of his paintings in his absence, he resumed his routine of night labor and daytime painting. In 1922, his sidewalk displays in Montmartre began attracting the attention of collectors. The art dealer Wilhelm Uhde “discovered” him in 1924, and exhibited Bombois’ work in the Galeries des Quatre Chemins in 1927. In 1937, his works were shown in the exhibition “Maîtres populaires de la réalité” in Paris. His first solo show was in 1944 at the Galerie Pétridès. Critics compared Bombois’ work to that of Henri Rousseau, which it resembled in its naïve drawing, crisp delineation of form, and attention to detail, although Bombois was less of a fantasist than Rousseau.

The paintings of his maturity are bold in color, featuring strong contrasts of black, bright reds, blues and electric pinks. Drawing from his own experiences, he often painted circus performers and landscapes with fishermen. His paintings of women are emphatic in their carnality, and his landscapes are notable in their careful attention to space, and to the effects of reflected light on water. Bombois’ works are on view in many public collections, notably the Musée Maillol in Paris. The above text was found on Wikipedia

www. ftn-books.com has the most important of all Bombois titles available

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Gino Severini (1883-1966)

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Yesterday we spoke of Benno Wissing and today the subject is Gino Severini. The artists exhibition for who Wissing made an outstanding catalogue. The Gino Severini catalogue from 1963. A true classic in dutch design.

In 1963 Gino Severini was not that well known in the Netherlands, but the appreciation for modern art was becoming more clear with every exhibition being held in the Stedelijk Museum during the 50’s and 60’s. The Boymans museum presented this artist after they had acquired a clowns painting by the artist as was the same with the Gemeentemuseum who had TWEE HANSWORSTEN in their collection.

But these paintings are not typical for the artist because Severini is known for his futuristic and cubist paintings.

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So the exhibition was an excellent chance to show the diversity of this italian “dandy” artist who was a personal friend of Theo van Doesburg.

Severini paintings are rarely offered for sale and when they come on the block, they are getting more expensive with each auction. But beside their money value they are important in the development of modern art and the exhibition in the Boymans in 1963 was one of the first that showed his importance for Modern Art as we know it.

The Boymans Severini catalogue is available at www.ftn-books.com