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  • From: 20 february 2018
  • Through: 03 june 2018
  • Location: Kasteel Het Nijenhuis

Jan Cremer

Jan Cremer started painting when he was fourteen, and created a profile for himself on the spot. No tentative careful first steps, he immediately made for the bold colours and the large scale gestures. After more than half a century of development, these two elements still underpin his art. Cremer is big on expression; expression with little reserve.

Cremer is not a writer who happens to paint. It all started with painting, the writing came later. Or perhaps it would be more correct to say that it actually all started with looking. For Cremer, painting and writing are just two different means of recording and processing what he sees around him. Sometimes it is words on paper, at other times it is paint.

Born in Enschede on 20 April 1940, the young Jan Cremer launched himself into the post war excitement that was nineteen fifties' Paris. In those days, the city of light was an international smelter for art and culture in which Cremer, as an artistic omnivore, endeavoured to sate his hunger for life. In Paris he developed his so called ‘Peinture Barbarisme’; wildly painted canvases with thick layers of paint, mixed with sand, jute and other materials. With an unorthodox technique and ditto personality, in one movement he managed to position himself right at the very cutting edge of modern art.

Jan Cremer

Cremer vacated the Parisian metropolis in 1961 (although he did keep a studio there) and headed for the remote island of Ibiza. The relentless sun combined with the rough landscape inspired a series of works; art imbued with a confident 'script' and oriental flavour. They show how writing and painting can indeed align and sometimes even overlap, as is literally the case with Jan Cremer. The publication of his no holds barred mischievous novel Ik Jan Cremer in 1964 raised eyebrows among the Netherlands' cultural elite. With the proceeds of this "merciless bestseller", eventually translated in dozens of countries, Cremer settled into the Chelsea Hotel in New York. He started painting again in New York, this time not abstract gestures of violent paintwork, but expressive and colourful tulip fields. Cremer's incorporation of Dutch cliché imagery par excellence can be seen as linking his pure painting phases of Paris and Ibiza with the major Dutch landscape tradition and the counter-traditional pop art of New York.

Museum De Fundatie held a major retrospective of Jan Cremer's work in 2015.


  • From: 20 Feb 2018
  • Through: 03 Jun 2018
  • Location: Kasteel Het Nijenhuis

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