PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF THEO WOLVECAMP (1925-1992)
Theo Wolvecamp was born as the first son of a tailor in Hengelo. As a
small boy he was already fascinated by nature, which is reflected in
his work in abstract form. During the war he started to draw, inspired by the Flemish and German expressionists, especially by Jacoba van Heemskerck's symbolic transmissions of nature. From 1945 to 1947 Wolvecamp attended the "Kunstoefening Academy" in Arnhem, after which he settled in Amsterdam to take up his own abstract expressionist style, inspired by Miro and Kandinsky; thin black lines on red, yellow or blue spots on a light background.
In 1948 Wolvecamp founded together with Appel, Constant and Corneille the "Nederlandse Experimentele Groep". In the same year Wolvecamp joined with his friends from the "Experimentele Groep" the international Cobra-group. Wolvecamp's work was symbolistic and the most abstract of the Dutch Cobra members. He worked in a surrealistic manner: "I start with a spot of colour, with the matter; I don't know where I'm going. I improvise, and under the automatic act of painting I begin to feel free." (E. Wingen, Wolvecamp, Venlo 1990, cit.p. 46).
In 1950 Wolvecamp travelled to Bretagne and became interested in the religious symbolic work of Gauguin, characterized by "Sythésism", bright colours framed in black lines. This style returns in Wolvecamp's later work.
A grant enabled him in 1953 to stay in Paris where he joined his Cobra-friends. Wolvecamp felt lost and depressed, so he returned to the countryside and in particular to his birthplace Hengelo. During the following two years Wolvecamp produced somber paintings; heavy black turbulent lines without any colour, thick paste-like layers of paint. In that way he expressed his struggle with the matter and appeared as a precursor to the "Informele Groep".
Motivated by his friend Appel, Wolvecamp gradually worked with more bright colours between his whirling black lines. His experimenting with different styles culminated in a spiritual Gorky-like style, in which form is more apparent. He said he had regained his balance again and used burning colours in thin transparant paint. Later on in the 60's his organic 'landscape' style changed into a style referring to the abstractions of Soulages, Schneider and Kline. In these spacious compositions, strong broad brush strokes appear in black lacquer on a light foundation of mixed white, yellow and blue.
Eventually Wolvecamp returned to his organic compositions with the ever whirling black lines, but now mature, more spacial and balanced.
Wolvecamp led a secluded life; he never promoted himself as the other Cobra members did. He painted with more difficulty, more stubbornness than his colleagues. For Wolvecamp a painting was hardly ever finished. He destroyed works if they did not fit his standards. This explains his small but exclusive oeuvre.
Wolvecamp's work can be found in several important national and international collections and museums in Holland, Germany, Denmark and U.S.A.
His estate consists of a collection of 48 paintings and various drawings, sketchbooks and prints.
Theo Wolvecamp (1925-1992)
Theo Wolvecamp (1925-1992)
with studio stamp on the reverse, oil on canvas
110 x 80 cm