'Since 1960 Schoonhoven has limited himself to the arrangement of horizontals, verticals and diagonals. By doing so, he has come close to the dividing line between art and non-art and has thereby made it all the more distinct. It all has to do with a perfect feeling for rhythm, with a sublime execution of line, with a fine play of light and shadow, with subtle aesthetics based on sobriety and regularity. Within the strict limitations which he has placed upon himself, Schoonhoven has grown to be a formidable master. His oeuvre echoes various movements in contemporary art - abstract expressionism, minimal art, fundamental art, "neo-expressionism" - without ever losing any of its own identity.'(J. Wesseling, Schoonhoven. Visual artist, The Hague 1990, p. 8.)
Jan Schoonhoven's work came to prominence with the formation of the Dutch-based Informal Group in 1957, later to become the NUL Group. Around the same time German artists Otto Piene, Heinz Mack founded the ZERO group in Düsseldorf, a year later Günther Uecker joined them. Advocating the integration of light and movement into a two-dimensional painted surface, they wanted to emphasize expression by means of monolithic plane and repetitive forms. The first major exhibition of this international group, called NUL, took place in 1962 in the Stedelijke Museum in Amsterdam. Jan Schoonhoven built for this exhibition a wall relief of cardboard boxes.
In 1964 Schoonhoven wrote the article ZERO, in which he stated 'materials as well as ideas derived from reality [...] the geometric aspect of ZERO is created by the element of repetition, the placement in rows ("Reihungen"). This order emerges from the need to avoid preference. The absence of preference for particular places and points in the work of art is essential to ZERO and necessary to provide an isolated reality. The geometric side of ZERO is consequently geared to extreme simplicity, an organization of very simple forms, a reality derived from that which actually exists. ZERO is first and foremost a new concept of reality, in which the individual role of the artist is kept to a minimum.' (Armando (a.o.), De nieuwe stijl, werk van de internationale avant-garde, deel 1, Amsterdam 1965, pp. 118-123.)
By the mid 1960's Jan Schoonhoven's popularity was growing. Looking at works from this period, it is as though the personal element gradually withdrew and became even more dissolved by the system.
Jan Schoonhoven concentrated on his famous white papier-maché compositions, only after five o'clock in the afternoon. Similar as in his art, he had a compulsory need for regularity and order in his life and out of sheer necessity he hung on to it for such a long time.
The present lot 204 Quadrangles, as the title indicates, has two hundred and four quadrangles that do not pretend to be more than what they are: simple arrangements of horizontals and verticals. They are almost nothing but have an aura that exert an amazing power of attraction.