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Hendrik Nicolaas Werkman (1882-1945)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
Hendrik Nicolaas Werkman (1882-1945)

Compositie met plantenvormen

Hendrik Nicolaas Werkman (1882-1945)
Compositie met plantenvormen
dated 'oct. 1942' (lower right)
unique hand stamped and stencil printed druksel on wove paper
65 x 50 cm.
Executed in 1942
G. Schutte, Amsterdam, before 1945.
Martin Sanders, New York, before 1963.
By descent from the above to Piet and Ida Sanders in 1984.
M. Fürst, Hendrik Nicolaas Werkman, Bochum 1961, p. 70.
J. Martinet, Hot Printing: Catalogus van druksels en voorlopige catalogi van gebruiksdrukwerk, litho's, etsen, houtsneden, tiksels en schilderijen van Hendrik Nicolaas Werkman, Amsterdam 1963, no. 42-89, p. 70 (illustrated p. 71).
D. Dekkers (a.o.), H.N. Werkman: het complete oeuvre, Rotterdam 2008, no. D-321, p. 148 (illustrated), as: Compositie met plantenvormen.
Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, H.N. Werkman drukker-schilder, 24 November-17 December 1945, no. 51.
Schiedam, Stedelijk Museum, Collectie Piet en Ida Sanders. Leven met kunst, 30 June-21 October 2012.
Special Notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

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Lot Essay

Hendrik Werkman (1882-1945)

Hendrik Werkman (1882-1945) was a youthful publisher and a late blooming artist; while he established his printing house as early as 1908, his first painting only dates from 1917. However, during his childhood in Groningen, Hendrik Werkman already exhibits a remarkable creativity in making his own booklets on a toy printing press as well as in (together with his brothers) making toys including a horseracing track with wooden horses.

Werkman's burgeoning artistic aspirations began to shape during the 1920's; his printing house and presses became his artistic means when he started experimenting in a long sequence of 'druksel' prints. His artistic printing techniques were not aimed at multiplication but rather to create effects only made possible through printing. He printed every part of the 'druksels' individually, one after the other, next to or on top of each other. In search of new modes of expression he constantly kept innovating his pressing technique by adding the use of stamps, templates, hand rollers, and all sorts of other things he could find in-and-around his printing house.

Werkman's versatile oeuvre is made up of a wide array of subjects and themes including: musical impressions, abstract compositions, figures, plants and flowers, fishes, paradisiac island scenes, and equestrians. Besides paintings and 'druksels' it also consists of drawings and sketches, stitching, and printed matter including the posters, invitations, pamphlets, and catalogues he made for de Groningse kunstvereniging 'De ploeg' (The Plough), and his own magazine and cri de coeur: 'The Next Call'.

Inspired by Van Gogh and especially Kirchner, -ranging from abstract to figurative-, his eclectic oeuvre, in all its manifestations is difficult to collect under one single heading. The artist himself noted: 'Het resultaat is naar mijn aard, niet naar een principe' (The result is according to my nature, not to some principle).

During the war, Werkman, due to the lack of orders for the printing house, could direct his unbridled attention towards his art. Between 1941-1944, besides a series of 'druksels' and paintings, he also illustrated and printed about forty booklets for the clandestine publisher 'De Blauwe Schuit'. This work, inventively and elaborately illustrated, included both new and historical texts and poems with allusions to the war and occupation.

On the 13th of March 1945 Werkman was arrested, possibly under suspicion of printing illegal (political) matter and the lion's share of the work in his printing 'atelier' was confiscated. On the 10th of April, just three days before the liberation of Groningen, Werkman and nine other prisoners, were executed. In addition, during the skirmishes leading up to the liberation, much of the confiscated work, -about one third of the 600 'druksels' Werkman had made during his artistic career-, was destroyed.

In the immediate aftermath of the war great effort was put into cataloguing the remainder of Werkman's oeuvre. At the end of 1945, several of his works were featured in the solo exhibition:'H.N. Werkman, drukker-schilder' at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam organized by Willem Sandberg, a former resistance member, Werkman fan, and newly appointed director of the Museum.

Piet Sanders became acquainted with Werkman's art while interned in the hostage camp 'Beekvliet' (1942-1944) when one of his fellow hostages, Paul Guermonprez, organized an exhibition about Werkman art and a lecture about the 'Chassidische Legenden'. Sanders was impressed, described Werkman's work as 'a revelation', and asked Werkman to send a work over for Ida's birthday. Hence, in November 1942, Piet en Ida Sanders received their first Werkman: the 'Twee paarden', included in this current sale. After the liberation Sanders brought together a collection of Werkman's paintings, 'druksels', and printed matter and became chairman of the N.H. Werkman foundation in 1962.

After the war, the extensive collection of works by Werkman brought together by Sanders, played an important role during the exhibitions (organized by Willem Sandberg) that familiarized and fascinated the national public with Werkman's druksels, paintings and printed matter, as well as, later on, in Werkman's international brake trough with solo-exhibitions in among others San Fransisco (Cal., 1951), Anberquergue (N.M., 1951), Brooklyn (N.Y, 1951), Paris (1952), Hanover (1956), Bochum (1961), München (1962), Zürich (1966), Jerusalem (1968), London (1975), and New York (1978).
Later on, Sanders endowed his versions of the 'Chassidische Legenden' to the Frans Hals museum in Haarlem and museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam and donated about thirty druksels to the N.H. Werkman foundation. Notwithstanding this generosity, Piet en Ida Sanders kept collecting and bringing together the occasional 'Werkman' available on the market.

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