Jan Jordens and contemporaries

5 December 2005

The exhibition Jan Jordens en tijdgenoten (Jan Jordens and Contemporaries) will be on display in the Ploeg Pavilion of the Groninger Museum from 18 February 2006 to 18 September 2006. Jan Jordens (1883-1962) was regarded as a modern and inspiring man. He became a member of the De Ploeg Artists’ Association shortly after its founding in 1918. His artistic oeuvre consists of expressionist, cubistic, figurative and completely abstract work.

The exhibition focuses mainly on Jordens’ later work, from the period 1948-1962. Jordens’ paintings, prints and watercolours are shown within the context of abstract painting. Jordens’ work is an essential aspect of Groningen modernism. Four groups form the core of this modernism: the Dutch abstract expressionists Benner, Nanninga, Ouborg, Hussem; the De Ploeg artists such as Werkman, Hansen, van der Zee, and Alkema; the artists of the École de Paris, such as De Staëll, Poliakoff, Bissière, Manessier, and Bazaine; and the younger generation of Groningen artists such as Jo van Dijk, Martin Tissing, and Fie Werkman.

Jan Jordens was born in Wageningen on 5 January 1883. He distinguished himself by his preference for the more modern forms of art. However, his demanding job as a drawing teacher restricted his artistic production in the twenties, thirties and forties. Nevertheless, his art did undergo substantial development. Besides painting and drawing landscapes, figures, portraits and still lifes, he experimented with abstract forms of painting in which his moderate expressionist style gradually switched over to a moderate cubism. Jordens’ was primarily inspired by the French coast and initially by the French cubists, although he later devoted more attention to a younger generation that included Roger Bissière and Jean Bazaine.

Jordens experienced the high point in his career in the fifties and sixties, when he was already more than seventy years old. This period attests to a strictly personal working method and visual language with French spheres of influence in his work. His abstract expressionist paintings from those years are based on a strong inclination toward form and the continual wish to breach it.

A monograph in the Groningen Museum Ploeg series, with texts by Mariëtta Jansen, Terry Walraven, Peter Jordens and Han Steenbruggen, will be published to accompany the exhibition.
Het Hoogeland open-air museum
From 18 February to 8 may 2006, Het Hoogeland open-air museum in Warffum will present pre-war work by Jordens.
For additional information, please see: www.hethoogeland.com

Note for the editor:
Photocredits: Jan Jordens, composition, 1958, oil on wood, 80 x 61, private collection
Compilation of the Groninger Museum exhibition: Alma Burema and Han Steenbruggen

For additional information: Josee Selbach, jselbach@groningermuseum.nl, Jolien Kunst, jkunst@groningermuseum.nl, +31 (0)50-3666555, www.groningermuseum.nl.

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