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Jacoba van Heemskerck
Kompromisslos modern
19 06 21
05 09 21

In less than two decades, Jacoba van Heemskerck (1876-1923) created a powerful oeuvre that includes paintings, woodcuts and glass works. Rhythmic compositions of pictorial space, black outlines and an intensive use of colour characterise the Dutch artist’s expressive landscape, city and harbour motifs.

Van Heemskerck differs from other protagonists of Expressionism through her turn to Anthroposophy. For her, art is not only an expression of subjective feeling, but also a path to knowledge, especially about the elementary effect of light and colour on the viewer. The luminosity and increasing transparency of her works make this clear. At the same time, applied art is not less important to her than painting; on the contrary, at the end of her life, van Heemskerck realised her striving for “luminous spiritual” colours in glass art.

The exhibition shows about 60 works from all creative phases: Paintings, drawings, woodcuts, glass works and mosaics. They range from a representational, strictly rhythmic formal language to an organic, flowing abstraction.

After deciding to become an artist, the Dutchwoman initially worked in the circle of the painter Piet Mondrian. She exhibited in Amsterdam, Domburg, Brussels and Paris with her mainly male colleagues. From 1913 to 1923 she was part of the avant-garde movement of Herwarth Walden’s “Sturm” in Berlin, where she was one of the most frequently exhibited positions. The renowned gallery owner and publisher also made artists such as Franz Marc, Wassily Kandinsky, Gabriele Münter and Alexej Jawlensky known.

Van Heemskerck’s search for spirituality and her rejection of an understanding of nature and the cosmos that is purely determined by materialism and positivism make her work highly topical today, when we are once again challenged to see the complex interrelationships in the world as a whole under different auspices.

Curator: Dr. Henrike Mund

An exhibition of the Kunsthalle Bielefeld in cooperation with the Kunstmuseum Den Haag, Netherlands, the Museen Stade, and the Edwin Scharff Museum Neu-Ulm, under the patronage of H. E. Wepke Kingma, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Germany.

The exhibition is sponsored by the Kulturstiftung pro Bielefeld and the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

The accompanying exhibition catalogue (Hirmer Verlag) is sponsored by the Ernst von Siemens Kunststiftung.