signed, titled and dated 1967 on the reverse
Acquired directly from the artist in 1967
James van Sweden, Architecture in the Garden, London, 2002, p.14, illustrated in color
Jan Schoonhoven is one of the leading artist's best known for establishing Nul, the Dutch counterpart of the international Zero Group. Born in 1914 in Delft, Schoonhoven first trained as a draughtsman at The Hague. Throughout his life he held a nine-to-five job at the Dutch postal service and devoted his afternoons and weekends to his art. His lifestyle and everyday routine would throughout the years inform and become an inextricable part of his work.
The present work is perhaps one of the best examples of what Schoonhoven strove to achieve throughout his artistic career. Quadratenrelief met schuine binnenvlaken in 4 richtingen is complex in its engineering, maintaining the simple rectangular grid of his early 1960s reliefs, while focusing on the interplay of depth in each box creating a rhythmic shadow play, always in an orderly manner, intensifying and embellishing the work.
Schoonhoven was influenced by the work of fellow contemporary Piero Manzoni and the father of spatialism, Lucio Fontana. At the core of his work is the main Zero fundamental: "zero is the beginning." Rediscovering and experimenting with new materials of modern life, Schoonhoven's most important works are made out of everyday materials such as corrugated cardboard and papier-mâché and inspired by his everyday surroundings such as postal-sorting boxes, wall grills and Venetian blinds. Despite the orderliness and structured form of his reliefs, the artist's hand is ever so present, "You have to strive for the minimum, but you can never do it anonymously," (Jan Schoonhoven quoted in Press Release for Jan Schoonhoven, Reliefs and Drawings, Gemeente Museum, September 2009-February 2010).
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