Armand Bouten was born in Venlo in 1893. At the age of 21 he moved to Amsterdam, where he studied at the State Art Teachers’ Training College (Rijks Normaalschool voor Tekenonderwijs). He married Hanny Korevaar in 1922; they went to southern Europe on honeymoon. They lived in turn in Paris, Budapest, and Brussels, and for shorter periods in Amsterdam and The Hague. Completely penniless, they returned to the Netherlands in 1953, and lived out their lives in solitude in Amsterdam.
From his first trip to southern Europe onward, Bouten’s early cubist-expressionist style was to change: bright colours and strong contours appeared in his work. His early topics, such as farmers and labourers in Dutch landscapes, also changed during his travels: gypsies, fairs, cafes, and brothels made their appearance in his work. Horrendous images, painted in dark, sombre colours subsequently betrayed the rising political tension in Europe, in the build-up to the Second World War.
After WWII, he turned out a few paintings and coloured gouaches, and drawings in pen and ink on paper, usually of Amsterdam prostitutes and city views.
The Groninger Museum showed an overview of the work of this artist, hitherto unknown to the general public, in whom expressionism was so deeply ingrained.