Art by Ger Heesen and Riek van der Lichte in Jacobskerk


WINTERSWIJK – Work by the artist couple Ger Heesen (Winterswijk, 1924 – Winterswijk, 2011) and Riek van der Lichte (Amsterdam, 1908 – Winterswijk, 2001) can be seen in the Jacobskerk until November 4 in the WOOLD exhibition. Ger studied at the art academy in Arnhem and Riek completed his training at the National Institute for Drawing Teachers in Amsterdam. Works have been selected for the exhibition from the collection of the married couple Dick and Janny te Winkel, who live in Winterswijk.

By Astrid Dekkers

Dick Te Winkel: “Ger Heesen was my uncle, he was my mother’s brother. During the war, Ger Heesen went into hiding in Woold with my parents.” While in hiding, Ger met Riek van der Lichte, who had moved from Amsterdam to the Achterhoek. Together they painted and drew the landscape. They began dating and were married in 1950. The couple lived in Amsterdam. Dick Te Winkel, born in 1945, remembers well that he was allowed to stay there as a child. “Winterswijk brought you to the heart of Amsterdam. My uncle and aunt lived in the former Jewish quarter. The overnight stays made a deep impression on me. The city, the neighbourhood, the art.”
In the current home of the married couple Te Winkel, many works bear witness to life in Amsterdam. City view with canals, Mozes en Aäronkerk on Waterlooplein. There are also a number of impressive chalk and charcoal drawings made by Ger Heesen of the flood. He then traveled to the disaster area to document what had happened. In Amsterdam, Ger and Riek became members of the artist group ‘The Independents’ (founded in 1912), which already in the 1920s ensured that the Dutch public could become acquainted with Picasso, Matisse and Kandinsky. This artist group exists to this day. In the 1960s, Ger and Riek returned to Winterswijk, where they recorded the environment in many works. In addition to freelance work, they also taught and created commissioned work, such as many mosaics for public spaces.

During their lifetime, Dick and Janny Te Winkel built up a small art collection, including a significant number of works by Ger and Riek. Visitors who came to the house in Gasthuisstraat a few years ago imagined a small museum. In the house, almost 100 works of art adorned the walls. Drawings and paintings with Winterswijk farms, landscapes, trees, portraits. Particularly striking were the drawings that were dated during the war and were therefore made during the hiding time in Wolden.

A selection from this collection has been made in the exhibition in the Jacobskerk, which focuses on the sawmill in Woold and the world around it. The oil paintings, watercolors and pen drawings by Ger Heesen and Riek van der Lichte give an insight into the former world of the timber trade. Dick Te Winkel explains: “It shows the landscape where I grew up. My father had a sawmill in Woold near the German border. This place and its surroundings are often captured in their art by both Ger and Riek. I also see the exhibition as a tribute to my father. A tribute to a place that meant a lot to my father, Jacobskerk. My father was a church councilor there and his faith was very important to him and his family. My father died young, I was only 9 years old. Then my mother, my brother and I moved to the village. It was a very different world to Woold. Unfortunately the sawmill went bankrupt after my father’s death. The co-partner couldn’t keep the business going. Everything was gone. You can see this lost world in the artwork . The sawmill, the forest, the men at work. My father went to the farmers and the landowners to ask if there was still wood for sale. The trees that were sold were marked with a special knife, a zipper knife. The trees were felled and hauled off horses Using a special carriage, a so-called ‘Mall e Jan’, the sticks were pulled. The logs were stored behind the sawmill. From there they could be transported in a truck via a small railway to the sawmill.’

Works from private art collections cannot always be admired and the exhibition therefore provides a unique opportunity to see these 24 works. The WOOLD exhibition shows a piece of the history of the Achterhoek, but also the universal beauty of a landscape or a tree.

The Woold exhibition can be seen in Jacobskerk until 4 November. After 4 November, the works can also be seen, but only on Saturdays from 12.00 to 16.00. Opening hours: Tues: 14-16, Wed: 14-16, Thurs: 14-16, Fri: 14-16, Sat: 12-16
The works shown are not for sale.

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