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Theo 'Morandi' Swagemakers

Theo 'Morandi' Swagemakers - Lyklema Fine Art

Theo Swagemakers (Tilburg 1898 – Laren 1994) was the son of a fabric manufacturer. He learned a lot about colors and use of color in the factory, but he would not use that knowledge for trade but for art. He wanted to become a painter and entered the Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels in 1923. Here he made friends with Constant Permeke, Charles Eyck and Isidore Opsomer. In 1926 he moved to Paris and attended the Académie Colorossi there until 1929. He came into contact with impressionism and met Zadkine and Kees van Dongen. A portrait of the Russian Count Obolensky, one of the assassins of Rasputin, brought him great fame. Through exhibitions he received many portrait assignments in the Netherlands and settled in Amsterdam in 1932.

Prins Bernhard via RKD

In addition to 1,100 well-known commissioned portraits, he painted and watercolored landscapes and seascapes, usually during holidays. Swagemakers was most productive as a painter of still lifes. The brutal arrangement of the objects earned him the nickname 'the Morandi of the North'.

Gerbera in witte vaas - 1945- Swagemakers

Gerbera  in white vase - 1945

His models included members of the royal family, church princes, actors, industrialists and bankers. In 1952 he painted the four princesses who were presented to Princess Wilhelmina. Many portraits of Queen Juliana, and later the state portrait of Princess Beatrix, follow.

Zoutelande Swagemakers Aquarel 1984

Louis Moons, a friend and admirer, collected so many paintings that in 1999 he even established a Swagemakers museum in the Pietershuis in Haarlem that would exist for 12 years. Other works were purchased by, among others, the Stedelijk Museum, Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller and the Van Abbemuseum. Swagemakers continued to paint until his death in 1994 in the Rosa Spierhuis.

Zelfportret Swagemakers via RKD
Selfportrait Swagemakers via RKD
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