It must have been some 20 years ago that i encountered at auction a beautiful and impressive painting of a night scene. At first i thought it to be a painting by Jan Sluyters, but when i read the description it appeared to be by Piet van der Hem. A painter of who i thought that he only made (ugly) portraits and illustrations. But this night scene was very very impressive. I forgot about van der Hem because i lost interest in all portraits by all painters. a few months ago i visited the bookmarket….and there it was again …a catalogue on van der Hem and on the cover the painting i had admired so much 2 decades earlier. I bought the catalogue and found out that the works by van der Hem can be divided into 2 parts. His early paintings in which his nightlife paintings show his best qualities and the later portraits which i do not like that much. Van der Hem is an excellent painter, but just focus on his early works which are tremendous and equal to Jan Sluyters or Isaac Israel ones.
the Piet van de Hem catalogue by Stichting Kunst aan de Dijk is available at www.ftn-books.com
Because i wrote yesterday a blog on Kirchner and studied for a short while the several paintings he executed between 1910 and 1920 and noticed some similarities between the paintings Jan Sluyters made in this period and the ones Kirchner made, I will now share these 2 paintings that i found . They are executed only 1 year apart from eachother.
The approach by Sluyters to his models is almost the same . The portraits are from the hips up, breasts bare and both wearing a flowered scarf and because of the strong colors they are 100% fauvism. I like both artists, but if ever i had to chose between both , i would certainly chose for Kirchner. His approach to his subjects and his painting is far more modern than Sluyters ever did. But unfortunately i will never have a choice except the museum i shall visit next time to see a Kirchner or a Sluyters. The Sluyters is in the collection of the Rijksmuseum Twenthe and belonged to the former collection of Nic Jonk. The Kirchner is one of the highlights in the collection of the Museum Ludwig. So make your personal choice and visit one of these two and let me know which one you prefer.
Books on Sluyters and Kirchner are available at www.ftn-books.com