RKD podcast: Artists from The Hague after the liberation

Haagse kunstenaars podcast

The RKD is joining forces with podcaster Caspar Stalenhoef for the podcast Kroniek Kunstgeschiedenis. In the first episode he will be talking to RKD curator Lynne van Rhijn about artists in The Hague in the years 1945-1950. Their regained freedom was thoroughly embraced and lead to innovation. How this related to society becomes apparent from the research Van Rhijn did in connection with the publication Museum in de oorlog - Kunst in vrijheid (Museum at wartime - Art in freedom). The podcast Kroniek Kunstgeschiedenis can be listened to via Spotify and Apple Podcasts among other podcast apps.

Audio URL

A dormant force awakens

In the episode Haagse kunstenaars na de bevrijding of the RKD podcast Kroniek Kunstgeschiedenis (in Dutch), Lynne talks about her research into artists from The Hague in the post-war period. She delved into the artist archives kept by the RKD. Caspar Stalenhoef asks Lynne about the situation artists were in during and after the Second World War. During the war art primarily needed to be understandable: still lifes and landscapes, preferably depicted realistically. After the liberation this quickly changed, and a new abstraction came into being: free and unregulated expression of personal feelings and phantasies.

Innovation in the art world 

In the years following the liberation, the art world evolved at a frantic pace. On the basis of collection pieces of the RKD and the Kunstmuseum Den Haag, Lynne van Rhijn conducted research into the impact liberation had on experimental art in The Hague. The image that arises from that research, is one of renewed energy and the urge to experiment. Artists embraced their new-found freedom, as their abandonment of recognizable depiction illustrates. Artists such as Willem Hussem, Wim Sinemus, Piet Ouborg and Jaap Nanninga each in their own way arrived at spontaneous abstraction, which was innovative even in comparison with international art developments. The interconnectedness between this personal expression and their ideals has previously received only marginal attention.

Invitation exhibition ‘Jan Roëde, Sinemus, Will’, art dealer Martinus Liernur The Hague, 22 Dec. 1945-12 Jan. 1946, collection RKD

Exhibition Kunstmuseum and publication

The publication Museum in de oorlog - Kunst in vrijheid, written by Lynne van Rhijn en Geert-Jan Mellink, will accompany the exhibition of the same name in the Kunstmuseum. It creates an impression of the museum during the Second World War and the innovative art from the years immediately following it. A selection of works, by for instance Ouborg and Hussem, aptly reflects the interest these artist had in originality and the use of symbols as a universal language. Four loans from the RKD are also on view at the exhibition, among them drawings by Jan Roëde and Lotti van der Gaag.

1. Invitation exhibition ‘Experimentelen’, Haagsche Kunstkring 1947, collection RKD, Wim Sinemus Archive
2. Sketch by Jan Roëde, collection RKD, Jan Roëde Archive
3. Drawing by Lotti van der Gaag, 1953, collection RKD, Karel Schuurman Archive