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P1050684The art of Theo Linnemann (1925-) is shown together with the art made by Henri De Haas in this exhibition until May 28th at the Galerie Wout Vuijk, Singel 383.

Linnemann moved to the Netherlands in 1954 as a young German to study under another German Heinrich Campendonk at the prestigious State Art Academy in Amsterdam. Certainly no mean feat for a German nine years after the war ended in Nazi occupied Holland. Like his great teacher he never left and made the place home. Campendonk had earlier designed Theater settings, and so did the man whose work influenced Linnemann for seven years the great Bauhaus Master of Form – Oskar Schlemmer, and  especially his Avant-garde Triadic Ballet.

Linnemann made numerous drawings and egg temperas as well as watercolor as an ode to Schlemmer’s Ballet, but that certainly was not all he did as we learn from the biography below and the essay by Eddy van der Meer.

A traditionally trained artist his works on paper show great care and meticulous detail with a great amount of various kinds of paper medium used.

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IMG_0003According to Eddy van der Meer’s Essay the painter is quoted as saying “you are not looking for a country, you are not looking for an academy, but you are looking for a teacher”. Linnemann found all three, and even if some of his art is a hard one to follow as it is based on the respect for the artist’s craft and tradition, we get a glimpse of what it means to be inspired by the ideas of an earlier time, of another way of looking at spatial relations and form.

P1050680This is not just cerebral art on paper or canvas, but methodical research spread out over years, a hunting down of form and expression.

Dante in his Divine Comedy says it this way: “I cannot make record of it all in full, seeing that my long theme drives me on, so that oftentimes speech comes short of the fact”. Perhaps Linneman as a painter felt the same exercising his art.

Author Susan Sontag in her essay Against Interpretation quotes the Dutch/American painter Willem de Koning as saying: “Content is not more than a glimpse, a confrontation that does not last any longer than a fraction of a second. It is something small, something very small, content”. Here form becomes separate from content as if to say that content carries more weight than form. Linnemann’s way of looking tells us that this is not so and he painted it his way.

The monumental oil tryptich which is not shown in this exhibition and for which the three separate photos were put together as a one piece in this post shows us that “tradition” never left Linnemann and that his art has something to tell us still. (each panel is 65 x 40 inches/165cm x 80 cm). The separate photos were published in a monograph (2002) titled Eine Ode an Oskar Schlemmer and were done by one or more of the following photographers: Clemens Boon, Kees Kuil, Artur Martin, Thijs Quispel.

linnemannArt of another time? Perhaps, one can only say Danke /Thank You Maestro!

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