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posterSometimes you meet an artist whose work grows on you slowly but surely, and Harm Mouw is one of these, in my opinion. His work is on display until this Saturday July 31st at the the famous gallery on the Singel Canal 383 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands owned by the recently deceased icon book seller Wout Vuyk, who in his 90’s still stopped into the gallery regularly to chat with the artist and visitors.

How do you discover what motivates an artist to create works of art? By observing the work in silence? By imagining some of the secrets by peeling off the layers?


Imagine a bronze fork bringing a gold leaf fish to your mouth as if to remind you that a lowly sardine is and can be a delicious treat.

objectsWe see the love of the artist for food and the ambiance that goes with it. The connotation of the preciousness of eating slowly and savoring the meal are shown in other objects on display as well.

On a wood block next to the window or from a painted dish made with French clay, the fish eventually migrates into a painting.


The fish’s voyage reminds me of Picasso who painted food many times, who also worked in clay as if he wanted to take the visual experience and bring it alive for us to our tables. That post you can read here.

Harm Mouw does not stop here of course, his drawings made in a Benedictine Convent years ago are powerful images about the spiritual sense hiding behind the various faces, but also about the common thread running through the lives of these monks – the communal meal and prayer. These also tell us something about the depth of an artist.



P1050959Friends and their surroundings and the relationships with the artist are other important defining milestones in his work. Just have a look at the oil paintings below of some of them.

P1050962Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud come to mind here and Mouw told me that the British painters were an influence when he attended the Rietveld Art Academy and the State Academy of Fine Art (Rijks Akademie).

Mouw (the Dutch name rhymes with Wow!)  is a versatile artist as the silkscreens on display show. (below)

silkscreensTrust, sensuality and peace captured in a simple image is how one discovers the artist by looking at one work at a time.

silkscreen 2

silkscreen 1The bigger secret is that Harm Mouw expands his art into cooking as well, AS A COOK on Saturdays and Mondays in this RESTAURANT:


And by the way, the Sardine dish with pasta is sold out this Sunday night!