Last week I arrived in upstate New York to deal with my artistic past. In 2000, when I returned to The Netherlands not knowing how long I would remain, the contents of my studio in New York were put into storage. Now, 19 years later I am ready to sell, ship, archive and in some cases, possibly destroy some works on paper from this collection of paintings, drawings and art supplies which span a decade beginning in 1990. I will have to make some tough choices about what I want to ship back to the Netherlands, leave behind with my remaining family here in the States or banish to the trash. It’s difficult when you reach that point in your life when such decisions have to be made. The paintings I’ve reproduced here are hanging safe and secure in the home of my sister and her husband, but of course I can’t expect that my siblings, nephews and nieces will want to store every scrap of paper I made some marks upon in that decade. This piece: ‘Dutch coffee can with peaches’ 12×14 in. is in safe hands.
A rejected portrait
This painting, a rejected portrait commission made in Holland in 1982 (I refused to add more detail into the faces of the chess-playing brothers in the rear of the composition and I ended up going home with it) will have a better chance than most of standing the test of time. It hangs in my sisters living room, purchased in my Dutch studio more than 30 years ago where it was spotted by my brother-in-law. It was later revealed to me that at the time he had whispered in his wife’s ear: ‘We’re not leaving without that painting’.
I wasn’t terribly organized during my early years painting in Holland. I recall having painted this on location but can’t recall for the life of me where that location was. Obviously these were works I had brought back with me when I returned to America in 1989. A painting or drawing preserves memory in another manner as than a photo. It’s not a ‘quickie’, a one night stand. With a camera you ‘take’ a picture. Creating a piece of artwork is more intimate. it’s a process of looking, feeling and making very personal decisions about inclusion, elimination and invention as it slowly reaches its finished form.