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Art by Cornelis Zitman

Exposición/exposition "Beelden Aan Zee"

Scheveningen/The Netherlands 2006

 

Information in Dutch: www.zitman.net/Pagina/cornelis_zitman.htm

 

Cornelis Zitman, son of a Leiden builder contractor, studied at The Hague Academy of Art where he made friends with Co Westerik. When he was called-up for military service and threatened with active duty in the Dutch colonies he fled to Venezuela. There in the jungle village of Coro he began a successful furniture business while drawing and painting in his spare time. His small sculptures were shown in the major Caracas Art Museum in 1968 and brought him recognition. Zitman became director of the city’s art academy and developed to become the Fernando Botéro of Venezuela.

Following Theo and Lida Scholten’s purchase of one of Zitman’s works in 1973 a special friendship developed between them and the artist. It was the couple’s wish to mount an exhibition of Zitman’s work but this ultimately never took place. However, when the American Daniel Rothenberg donated six of Zitman’s sculptures to Museum Beelden aan Zee, in the Hague the Netherlands, an exhibition then seemed feasible. Subsequently, Zitman decided to give all his small sculptures from his first 1968 exhibition to the same museum.

The curator of Musée Maillol in Paris, Bertrand Lorquin, was invited to write an essay about Zitman and his work, while Dick den Haas, former Dutch Ambassador to Venezuela wrote a personal story. The resulting publication is a special addition to the exhibition at Museum Beelden aan Zee, which contains some hundred sculptures and reliefs, several drawings and other documentation.

 

Cornelis Zitman nació en Leyden, Holanda, el 9 de diciembre de 1926. Realizó estudios en la Academia de Bellas Artes de la Haya, de 1942 a 1947. Este último año se instaló en Venezuela. Como escultor, Zitman tuvo una etapa a la que Pedro Briceño atribuye "gran dominio de las formas y el espacio; el escultor ha hecho experiencias interesantes con elementos de uso industrial que recrean efectos de potencialidad dramática". Pero liberándose de la tradición constructivista, abordó una figuración de espíritu sintético y tema nativo. La tipología criolla que Zitman desarrolla a menudo en figuras aisladas, acude con frecuencia a referencias contextuales, dadas por los objetos integrados bajo forma escultórica a la obra: camastros, baúles, bicicletas, hamacas, balancines, etc. Todo le sirve a Zitman para establecer una relación sutil y necesaria, extremadamente sintética, entre el personaje y el ambiente: figuras resumidas acremente en formas turgentes y punzantes, en estrecha analogía con la laxitud, la sensualidad y el comportamiento del habitante del trópico.

 

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Taken on July 5, 2006