Exhibition Geer van Velde, Contemplation Works



Contemplation Works

GEER VAN VELDE Contemplation Works
Exhibition from September 20th to October 30th 2021

The artist
Geer van Velde (1898-1977)

The Dutch artists Geer and his brother Bram first learned the profession of painter decorator, but very soon they were convinced that their true vocation was to become artists.

In 1925, the two brothers settled in Paris and started life as bohemian and penniless artists.

In 1937, Geer van Velde befriended Samuel Beckett, who got him a first exhibition at Peggy Guggenheim’s brand-new London gallery.

In the summer of 1938, Geer van Velde moved with his wife to Cagnes-sur-Mer with a view of the Mediterranean. During the six years spent in this village, he developed the elements of his future work with an increasingly abstract formal vocabulary. He organized his composition of space and light according to rules that became clearer, step by step.

In 1944, he returned to Paris and settled in Cachan where he remained until his death in 1977. The theme of workshops became the essential subject of his work, a new source of inspiration, a new light. It is the place par excellence of the painter’s intimacy with his creation.

From 1946 until 1952 Geer van Velde was presented at the Maeght Gallery.

Several exhibitions

  • 1966  Paris, Musée Galliera
  • 1971/81/98  Amsterdam, Kunsthandel, M.L. de Boer
  • 1982/89/93  Paris, Galerie Louis Carré et Cie
  • 1986  Albi, Musée Toulouse-Lautrec
  • 1991  Paris, Centre Georges Pompidou, cabinet d’Art graphique
  • 1992  Pontoise, Musée Tavet
  • 2000  Antibes, Musée Picasso ; Colmar, Musée Unterlinden
  • 2010  Lyon, Musée des Beaux-Arts
Bram et Geer van Velde à Cachan, 1948

Bram and Geer van Velde at Cachan, 1948
Photo: Jo Bokma

Bram et Geer van Velde à Cachan, 1948

Geer van Velde in his studio at Cachan, 1952
Photo: Jo Bokma

The works on paper

Following one or two sketches in pencil, Geer van Velde chose the most satisfactory to set in color with gouache, watercolors, or pastels. Until the end of the forties, this work with gouache was therefore a form of “preliminary project” for him whose purpose was to result in a unique oil on canvas in an already anticipated format.

The preliminary project on paper was then faithfully reproduced and enlarged on canvas using a grid and the colors replicated. Gouache works and drawings which were not used for this purpose were not overlooked but carefully stored in piles on the work tables to serve as a reminder for future studies.

Towards the beginning of the 50s, the grid system of reproduction disappeared and was replaced by “composition” which was learned and integrated after several studies on paper on the same subject. Gouache is no longer just a preliminary project but becomes a form of mental exercise allowing Geer a direct charcoal transposition of the motif on the canvas. The template is now only on the table as a guide, a reminder of the initial project.

This first oil on canvas was often only a small or medium format transcription step that was followed by a large “definitive” format. 

However, the process was not set, and a large format gouache could, for example, replace the expected small oil or research gouaches could be interspersed between two oils on canvas.

Geer van Velde’s creative freedom was total, time (chronos) was abolished. The goal was  as he said: “to find the form”, the colors, the light and the space between the shapes.

It is therefore in these multiple increasingly abstract and spatial studies that Geer van Velde created the subject of his paintings by freeing himself from composition.

On canvas, the question is only pictorial.

The gouaches presented by the Galerie de la Présidence bear witness to his intense creative moments and their evolution from 1937 to 1963.

July 2021, Pierre François Moget,
Specialist of the artist

Bram et Geer van Velde à Cachan, 1948

Geer van Velde in his studio, 1949
Photo: Jo Bokma

Bram et Geer van Velde à Cachan, 1948

Geer van Velde in his studio, 1949
Photo: Jo Bokma

The catalogue

Do you like Geer van Velde ?

Here is a video that might interest you…
A detailed biography is also presented on the Geer van Velde “Artist’s” page.