ARMAND BOUTEN (1893-1965). ART GENERATES ITSELF

24 September 2008

In the autumn of 2008, the Groninger Museum presented the first large-scale exhibition of the work of the Dutch expressionist Armand Bouten (1893-1965). In this exhibition, the Groninger Museum displayed a selection of Bouten’s best works by means of which, in conjunction with the first monograph on the artist, an accurate picture of his life and the development of his oeuvre could be given.

Armand Bouten was born in Venlo, Province of Limburg, in 1893. At the age of 21 years, he moved to Amsterdam, where he attended the Rijks Normaalschool voor Tekenonderwijs (Art College). Here, he became acquainted with his fellow student Hanny Korevaar, with whom he would spend the rest of his life. They married in 1922 and went on their honeymoon through southern Europe. From that moment onward, they led a restless but adventurous life. They lived in Paris and Budapest in the 1920s and 30s, and also visited Marseilles. In the 1940s, the couple settled in Brussels and also stayed for shorter periods in the Netherlands, in Amsterdam and The Hague. They eventually returned to the Netherlands completely broke in 1953, and eked out a rather lonely existence in Amsterdam till the end of their lives. Only their oeuvre and a few photos remain to provide evidence of the fascinating development in the art and lives of the artists.

Bouten’s early Cubist-Expressionist style changed from the moment he went on his first journey to southern Europe: bright colours and powerful contours began to appear in his work. The themes that he painted previously, such as farmers and labourers in Dutch landscapes, gave way to more exotic subjects: gypsies, fairgrounds, bars and brothels. Later, horrific images, painted with sober colours, reflected the heightening political tensions in Europe in the run-up to the Second World War. After WWII, he produced a few coloured gouaches and paintings, but colour soon disappeared from the artist’s work after that, with the exception of a few small pen drawings on paper, mainly of Amsterdam prostitutes and cityscapes. Armand Bouten died in 1965, never recognized and completely forgotten.

This exhibition was accompanied by the first monograph on the artist, which is based upon comprehensive research by art historian Doede Hardeman. With this, the Groninger Museum presented an overview of this deep-rooted Expressionist, who has remained largely unknown to the general public up until now.

Catalogue
Armand Bouten (1893-1965): ‘Kunst maakt zichzelf’, een diepgeworteld expressionisme (‘Art Generates Itself’, a deep-rooted Expressionism)
Author: Susan van den Berg
ISBN 978-90-71691-68-3, price € 24.50
Published by the Groninger Museum and Philip Elchers

Note for the editor, not for publication
Producer: Maaike Broersma
Curator: Doede Hardeman
Publicity: Josee Selbach
For additional information, please contact: Josee Selbach, jselbach@groningermuseum.nl, +31(0)50-3666555, or Evelien Bijlefeld, ebijlefeld@groningermuseum.nl, +31 (0)50-3666555, www.groningermuseum.nl.

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