Adriaan Lubbers (Amsterdam 1892-1954 New York) was a self-taught artist with an independent spirit. He left for America at a young age, where he had all kinds of jobs. He also continued to draw. When he settled in Bergen after his return in 1919, he became friends with, among others, Leo Gestel and Mommie Schwartz. Lubbers left for New York again in 1922. Few Dutch painters had such success in America in the years before the Second World War as Lubbers. He painted energetically and expressively with broad brushstrokes and sometimes with the back of the brush.
A number of style periods can be distinguished in his work. The number of topics keeps coming back. Over several years he made work on subjects such as the Trinity Church, Times Square, Brooklyn Bridge and the construction of skyscrapers. In later work the theme and use of color are more important. Based on his own experience of beauty, he seems to simplify shapes.
Lubbers wandered through Europe and the world. In the 1920s he spent several months in Italy, including Positano and San Giminiano. In Paris he became friends with Piet Mondriaan, with whom he would later write frequently to exchange ideas about art.
In 1947 he was commissioned to paint the Philips factories from a bird's-eye view. After completing the two very large paintings (100 x 200 cm), Lubbers came up with the idea of setting up 'Art and Company', which mediates between client and executor. That institute still exists.
A source of inspiration for his last works from 1953 and 1954 is a cover of a Gershwin LP: In three months he created approximately 34 works, including a number of modern, almost abstract cityscapes around this theme. In the latest series of paintings, the well-known New York cityscapes have been changed into areas of color in which building elements can still be recognized, but no longer real skyscrapers. Water and air flow into each other like cubes and geometric areas of color.
The change in style in Lubbers' work is also clearly visible in the various works entitled Foundation of a Skycraper. In the skyscrapers abstracted into colored areas with sharp perspective, the cranes have remained recognizable as such, but they are made up of geometric figures such as triangles and circles. The contrast with a painting from an earlier period, in which he painted a recognizable environment in detail, is extremely great.
In 1992, an exhibition with more than fifty works was on display at the Museum of the City of New York and he is rightly portrayed as one of the most important 'chroniquers' of this metropolis of the century. This article is partly taken from an article in a Studio 2000 magazine by Drs. Peter E.M. Hammann