Lot 110
  • 110

Jan Schoonhoven

150,000 - 200,000 GBP
182,500 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Jan Schoonhoven
  • R69-39 S/T/D
  • signed, titled and dated 1969 on the reverse
  • painted papier-mâché on wood


Acquired directly from the artist by the previous owner
Thence by descent to the present owner

Catalogue Note

Executed in 1969, R69-39 S/T/D is a striking example of Schoonhoven’s iconic oeuvre. The brilliant luminosity and the restrained order of its geometry are emblematic of his textured white reliefs. The rhythmic, ordered pattern of the work, where a sequence of lines emerge and recede in a seemingly infinite play of shape and light, perfectly embodies Schoonhoven’s interest in materiality and the spatial relationship of forms. The pure abstraction and visual dynamism of R69-39 S/T/Delegantly emphasise the central tenant of Schoonhoven’s artistic practice – the predominance of the new visual order that he created.

The ZERO movement, which by the mid-1960s had expanded beyond its original origins in Düsseldorf into a pan-European collective, was always spiritually rooted in the Constructivism of post-revolutionary Russia. The Constructivists, inspired by the optimism of the new industrial order in Russia, sought to create a new era of proletarian art based on the emerging culture of materials. The ZERO artists that emerged in the aftermath of a different war also sought a stronger interlocking of art with technology, purposefully choosing unusual and non-traditional materials to facilitate this.

Their ambition to establish a working method that embraced a synthesis of art and life resonated strongly in Schoonhoven’s works. They were the first to encourage the use of industrial materials and a philosophy that demanded that art should no longer seek to reflect or interpret a given reality but aim to build and express the tasks of the working man. With no subject-orientated obstacle standing between the viewer and the work, R69-39 S/T/D, achieves a new kind of immediacy; it is a truly democratic work of art. In the multifaceted surface of the present work the light becomes a moving, living element that transforms the role of the viewer into that of an active force intimately involved in the mesmerising dynamism of the work.