Martin Douven – Leopoldsburg – Jef Geys


M HKA, Antwerpen

09 September 2011 - 31 December 2011

Martin Douven (°1898 - †1973), a self-made painter from Leopoldsburg, started in 1928 with the sale of his own paintings. Later, he taught his children and others to churn out one painting after the other. After the war, his company expanded into a factory of paintings and frames, with 200 employees and worldwide exports.

As a small boy, Jef Geys (°1934, Leopoldsburg) went to the same school as one of Douven’s sons. That is how he got the chance to visit the factory and see it in action. In the late 50s, when he was an artist and teacher, he was given a painting of Douven’s studio by his father quite by chance. This canvas (a lake and two swans) proved the starting point for research into lines of force in paintings: what makes an image 'attractive', for whom and how?

That is how a set of black paintings came about where Geys marked the axes geometrically. This is also where his research started into various aspects of painting: carrier, material, helpers, and signature.

All this, starting from Martin Douven, was the subject of this exhibition.

In collaboration with Lucas Creativ.

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