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Signed Ger Gerrits lower right
Signed again, titled and dated on the reverse Ger Gerrits '57, Indiaanse Verkenners bespeuren onraad
Oil on canvas
Image size 60,5 x 40,5 cm
Provenance: Christie's Amsterdam, 4 June 1997, lot 134
Literature: Koos van Brakel & Henk Walst, Ger Gerrits, leven voor de kunst, 2023, page 177
Painter and graphic artist Ger Gerrits (Nieuwer Amstel 1893 - Amsterdam 1965) was a driving force behind, among other things, Vrije Beelden, Creatie and Liga Nieuwe Beelden. He stood for absolute abstract art. But that's not how he started. As a boy Gerrits attended the School of Arts and Crafts in Haarlem and later the Drawing School for Arts and Crafts in Amsterdam. In terms of painting, he was a self-taught artist as a real education the family could not afford. He was taught by his father, Georg Rueter and others.
Gerrits initially worked from around 1920 as an advertising draftsman/lithographer; he made many lithographs and woodcuts; he also painted in his spare time. From 1930 he acclaimed to be a professional artist and and exhibited not without success at the annual exhibitions of The Independents. This changed from 1935 when he was inspired by De Stijl. Although Gerrits clearly had leftist sympathies, his work was apolitical. His political commitment is evident from his part in the protest exhibition D.O.O.D. (The Olympiad under Dictatorship) in Amsterdam in 1936, his role in the later resistance and the co-founding of an artists' union.
In 1938 he was in Paris for the artists' association The Independents, to compose an entry for the 'Exposition des Indépendants Hollandais-Francais'. There he visited Piet Mondriaan, which would have a strong influence on his later art development and thinking. 'The abstract work is the opposite of the nature image. It is creating an entirely new world with purely painterly means. This is the greatest task an artist can set himself. In this, only music has preceded painting.'
At the end of the 1940s Gerrits became good friends with Cobra artist Anton Rooskens, Eugène Brands and Willy Boers. They were members of the Amsterdam group 'Creatie', which attempted to bridge the gap between abstract art before 1940 and new abstract art after 1950. De Liga was founded around 1955 with Wim Crouwel, Josef Ongenae and the architects Gerrit, among others. Rietveld, Frans van Gool and Aldo van Eyck. improving the living environment. Color in architecture was seen as important. Gerrits showed himself to be a convinced supporter of geometric abstraction. In March 1956, Gerrits suggested in a board meeting that the League was only intended for artists who continued in the direction of Mondriaan, Van Doesburg and Kandinsky. At that time he made this work that consists only of primary colors like De Stijl did.
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