• Post-War and Contemporary Art auction at Christies

    Sale 2833

    Post-War and Contemporary Art

    1 December 2009, Amsterdam

  • Lot 200

    Jan Schoonhoven (1914-1994)


    Price Realised  


    Jan Schoonhoven (1914-1994)
    signed and dated (twice) 'J.J. Schoonhoven 1992' (on the reverse)
    a white painted relief
    59 x 59 cm.

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    It was never Jan Schoonhoven's goal to create new kinds of visual forms. His reliefs can for example consist of deductions from wall grills, or Venetian blinds, or a rooftop. In the spirit of Zero he wished to show us the beauties of modern life. With the creation of the present lot Untitled in 1992, Jan Schoonhoven reinvented his famous cardboard reliefs in a surprisingly new way. The work is no longer built up with strips of corrugated cardboard, but literally consists of thousands of cardboard triangles, which -piled together- form massive, vertical, sharply protruding ridges. Exactly 10.360 triangles of 3 x 3 x 3 cm. were used.
    Untitled is a beautiful example of the theories of the Zero movement, to which he held on to until the very last moments, and at the same time it is a very personal expression. He could have chosen for a much easier method of working, in stead of the thousands of triangles. But, as a result of this method the 'skin' of the work became very personal, exciting and non mechanic in character, and thus the whole work.
    The untitled relief is part of a series of four, of which one was acquired by the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. (compare with Janneke Wesseling, Jan Schoonhoven - Beeldend Kunstenaar, The Hague 1990, p. 114, entitled R 90-5). It was to be the last relief Schoonhoven ever produced.
    Schoonhoven was famous for is his meticulous ordered titles, with all three-dimensional works starting with the R for relief and then the year and number. Works that were given away as presents, like the present lot, did not receive such a title.
    ''As far as their weight and plasticity is concerned, the works from these series tend more towards sculpture or architecture. Although they are clearly three-dimensional objects, when hung on the wall, they look weightless; it is almost as if they float. One layer of paper is lightly glued to the cardboard, so that the ribbed surface of the piles remains visible, and this is painted bright white. The high, triangular segments create strong light/dark contrasts, which are often softened, however, by way of the light is cast across the ripplings on the surface, setting these in motion. A shiver, so to speak, goes through these works." (Janneke Wesseling, 1990, p. 113.)

    Special Notice

    Christie’s charges a premium to the buyer on the Hammer Price of each lot sold at the following rates: 29.75% of the Hammer Price of each lot up to and including €20,000, plus 23.8% of the Hammer Price between €20,001 and €800.000, plus 14.28% of any amount in excess of €800.000. Buyer’s premium is calculated on the basis of each lot individually.


    A gift from the artist to the present owner.

    Saleroom Notice

    Please note that the present lot was the last relief Jan Schoonhoven ever produced.

    Pre-Lot Text