Between art and kitsch: museum De Lakenhal – from noble kitsch to a Toorop – Between art and kitsch

Between Art and Kitsch / 19 December 2022

In the broadcast on Monday 19 December 2022 from museum De Lakenhal, Rob Driessen judges a touching and almost humorous ceramic owl, the ‘glitters’ are at the table for Martijn Akkerman and Willem de Winter is allowed to bring a watercolor by Jan Toorop to light.

figure of a stylized owl
  • Maker: Chris van der Hoef 1875-1933
  • Origin: Plateelfabriek Zuid Holland Gouda
  • Date: 1928
  • Material: ceramic
  • Measurements: 24 cm high, 8 cm wide

This figure comes from the inheritance of the grandparents of Mr. through his parents to him. His mother collected owls as a wisdom animal. She had hundreds of owls. If you had to bring something to mother, you brought an owl. Mister has had the statue for two years now and it is in the living room. He himself likes art nouveau and thinks it is calm and slim and the colors are beautiful. He does not know who made it and it has never been appraised.

Rob Driessen: This figure was made by Chris van der Hoef. He was a very versatile artist. He started as a sculptor, then ended up in ceramics. He made beautiful vases. It always had a very sleek design, even before the Art Deco period. He also designed medals and silver, but later returned to his old love, sculpture.

He made stylized animals such as a windy cat and elephant. Later he did the same at the ceramics factory Zuid Holland. This owl is made from a triangle and a few blocks. At a glance, you can see that it is an owl. Very cleverly done, it is very touching and almost humorous. That is why his work is very popular. You don’t see figures like this very often. The green glaze imitates bronze, it looks like sculpture, but it is serial ceramics. Very democratic, in fact, how he brings good art in circulation into the living room.

Fabric Hall-art-Deco-ring.jpg
art deco ring
Fabric Hall-art-Deco-ring.jpg
  • Date: 1930
  • Material: white gold
  • Dimensions: 2.5 x 1.5 cm

The lady comes from a ‘crow family’, all that shines is beautiful. Her grandmother was a very independent businesswoman, ran a car company, wore fur coats, Hermès scarves, lots of jewelry. She probably bought this ring herself. She always had spectacular things. Grandfather died quite early, so she took over the company. She was a flamboyant woman. Her mother inherited it from grandmother, but barely wore it. Mother had somewhat coarser hands, the ring was a little too fragile for her. But the wife has now inherited it herself and regularly wears it when, for example, she goes out to eat. But she is careful about it, because such a pearl cannot take so much.

According to Martijn Akkerman, the ring was sold in the Netherlands, but if it is a foreign ring, it may come from France. It is a white gold ring. It is yellow gold with a small amount of platinum. White gold was discovered in 1912. There is also a pearl surrounded by small diamonds. Whether the pearl is real or cultured can only be determined with the help of an X-ray. Nevertheless, Martijn Akkerman believes that the pearl is genuine because it is flat on one side, a bouton (French for ‘knot’). During the growth process in the oyster, the pearl has reached the edge of the shell. This makes the pearl cheaper.

The pearl of love

It is a Hague ring. In The Hague there was a completely different audience than in Amsterdam. Chikken from The Hague bought the clothes from Kuhne, the cakes from Maison Krul and the jewelery from the jeweler Steltman. The ring may well be a jewel sold by Steltman and Bernier. How much is it now worth? The expert prefers to think not in carats, but in centuries, as Princess Margaret of Denmark also said: “pearls are so beautiful because they grow in the depths and darkness of the sea and are brought to light by people.” It is a jewel for any occasion. Pearls are about love, jewels are things to pass on. Pearls used to be given to a girl every year, on every birthday she got a pair of pearls. At 18, she had a necklace. Like the charm of the bracelets now.

⇒ Did you know: All about jewellery, precious stones and pearls

  • Image: fishermen on the beach
  • Maker: Jan Toorop 1858-1928
  • Origin: The Netherlands
  • Date: 1887
  • Dimensions: 60 x 40

This painting was purchased by the owner’s grandfather as a gift for his wife. At the time, 125 guilders were paid for it. The painting now hangs over the mantelpiece at Mr. Mor’s. The owner doesn’t know if he likes it very much, rather ‘specially’. The colors are very gloomy and someone is taken away.

According toexpert Willem de Winter, it concerns a group of fishermen in front of a bomb barge. They have just arrived and the women and the child are happy that the fishermen are safe at home. Typical for Toorop is the manner of the signature: with year, signature and location. De Winter says 1887 is a special year for Toorop, his child (an infant) died and he found out that year he had a neglected venereal disease. At that time he spent a lot of time by the sea, and had a studio house built in Katwijk. The atmosphere of the painting says a lot about Toorop’s state of mind that year.

Originally, the painting was much fresher and more colorful. If you look closely, you will see many colors.

Sent on Monday 19 December 2022 at 21.30 on NPO 1 (after that the broadcast can be seen again on NPO Start)

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