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  • From: 16 october 2021
  • Through: 06 february 2022
  • Location: Kasteel Het Nijenhuis

THEO KURPERSHOEK - A laud to the visible world

The paintings and prints by Theo Kurpershoek (1914-1998) are deeply loved by connoisseurs, private collectors and artists and are included in various museum collections. Theo Kurpershoek was a versatile artist who started as an advertising artist and book designer and then developed into a talented wood engraver and painter of beauty.


Theo Kurpershoek, Self-portrait with blinds, 1984, oil on canvas, 54 x 68 cm, private collection

Theo Kurpershoek, born in Rotterdam, attended evening courses at the Rijksakademie of Visual Arts in Amsterdam in the 1930s. During the day he worked as an advertising artist. Together with Herbert Fiedler, Hans van Norden and Nicolaas Wijnberg, he founded the painting group The Realists  in 1948. This group counterbalanced the great attention of museums and critics for abstract art and Cobra. Like other classical-modern Dutch artists such as Otto B. de Kat and Friso ten Holt, Kurpershoek joined the European modernist tradition of the twentieth century.

Theo Kurpershoek is best known to a wider audience as the designer of the Salamander series by publisher Querido in the 1950s. Several of his book designs won the CPNB's Best Designed Book Award. Theo Kurpershoek was also a virtuoso graphic artist and made many wood engravings. In the 1950s he received several assignments for applied art from the municipality of Amsterdam. In the same city he taught at the Rietveld Academy and at the Rijksakademie.

The biggest surprise are his paintings: colorful self-portraits, still lifes, interiors, portraits and landscapes. Theo Kurpershoek liked to paint in the hilly surroundings of his holiday home near 's Gravenvoeren, just across the border near Maastricht. The bright colors of the work radiate sun-drenched joie de vivre. About 50 paintings and about 20 works on paper from private and museum collections testify to his flexible technique and transport the viewer to a pleasant, colorful world.


Theo Kurpershoek, On the boat, 1951, oil on canvas, 105 x 77 cm, private collection.

To accompany the exhibition, Waanders uit de Kunst will publish a monograph on Theo Kurpershoek, edited by Feico Hoekstra, with contributions by Camée van Blommestein, Marijn Schapelhouman and Marguerite Tuijn, who also curated the exhibition. This publication is made possible by the Otto B. de Kat Foundation, which aims to draw more attention to the artists who were trained at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam and who continued to paint figuratively in spite of the prevailing fashion in the decades after the Second World War.


Image header: Theo Kurpershoek, Maasdal behind Mesch, 1980, oil on board, 39.5 x 49.5 cm, SCHUNCK collection, Municipality of Heerlen


  • From: 16 Oct 2021
  • Through: 06 Feb 2022
  • Location: Kasteel Het Nijenhuis