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Bohemien Kees van Bohemen

Bohemien Kees van Bohemen - Lyklema Fine Art

Cornelis Bernardus (Kees) van Bohemen (1928-1985) was a Dutch painter and graphic artist from The Hague, where he also attended the art academy from 1943 to 1948. At the age of twenty-four he received a stipend with which he traveled to Paris with Lotti van der Gaag. he would get married too. He shared a studio in the hide warehouse on Rue Santeuil with Corneille until 1957; Friendships were also formed here with other members of the Cobra group such as Karel Appel and Bram Bogart.

Kees van Bohemen-1958-Nacht- Centraal Museum
Kees van Bohemen-1958-Nacht- Centraal Museum


In 1958 he returns to The Hague and meets his new love Els van der Zijde. He joins the Informal Group together with, among others, Armando, Henk Peeters, Jan Schoonhoven and Jan Henderikse. This group was characterized by a form of abstract expressionism, directness, materiality and commitment. During this period Van Bohemen produced abstract canvases in which he used a lot of black and white. The members founded the Zero Movement in 1961 and took a completely different direction: more figurative. Kees van Bohemen is not a core member of this new movement but remains part of the network. Kees was previously involved with De Nieuwe Ploeg, De Posthoorngroep, De Nieuwe Haagse School, Pulchri Studio and Liga Nieuwe Beelden.

 van Bohemen-drawing 1959-stedelijk
van Bohemen-drawing 1959-Stedelijk


Initially, Kees painted in a limited palette of mainly black and white supplemented with blue, brown and pink. His work was initially mainly abstract expressionist with influences from Tachism and action painting. Later it becomes more figurative and colorful. A few years in New York (1966) and a trip to Kenya (1972) certainly had an influence on this. He made large colorful canvases of women, athletes and exotic motifs and animals in Africa. The expressive paint treatment was his priority in order to tell a story like this. He also regularly attended events in Andy Warhol's 'Factory' in New York. Van Bohemen was not inspired by the American action painters, but started working more figuratively.

14e ronde-Boymans
14e ronde-Boijmans Van Beuningen


Kees van Bohemen won a large number of prizes, including the Talens Prize (1963) and the Jacob Maris Prize (1964). His work is included in the collections of the Stedelijk, Boijmans and the Haags Gemeentemuseum. Kees van Bohemen was the brother of the Hague painting restorer Nico van Bohemen and father of actor Casper van Bohemen.

Paysage Japonnais-Boymans

His recognition came mainly after the artwork Paysages Japonais that is now in Boijmans. This turnaround, also in the interest in his work, led to his art being included in national and international collections and being asked for exhibitions at the Paris Biennale and in municipal museums.

Van Bohemden-Lake Sight-1968-stedelijk
Van Bohemden-Lake Sight-1968-stedelijk


For many young residents of The Hague, the work of Kees van Bohemen was their first introduction to the new school in The Hague. At the time, his work hung prominently in the popular café Ca l'Emile in Maliestraat, where many artists also frequented.


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