Getting these ‘Dutch Gentlemen’ to come to her studio and pose for her in their vests was a bold endeavour. Set in a white emptiness without any further context, they had to deal with who they are, a glance, a turn of the mouth, their posture, their stance or the language of their gestures. This stark, direct style has always characterised Dutch portraiture, the subject being simply the person he is, nothing more, nothing less
Dutch portrait tradition
The exhibition is based on a Dutch portrait tradition. Contrary to the Dutch portraiture in the seventeenth-century with predominantly black clothing and dark, nondescript backgrounds, these portraits are free of all reference to the status of the subjects portrayed. The realistic paintings are understated, subdued and intimate. Politely but firmly, Milou Hermus asked the Dutch Gentlemen to swap their second skin for a simple vest. The white canvas is used to establish equality, and gives away nothing about the man's professional, financial or social status. Hermus consciously went in search of what distinguishes these men from one another and what makes them what they are: their uniqueness combined with her fascination for them. The men portrayed include two former Kunsthal directors: Wim van Krimpen and Wim Pijbes, both now back at the Kunsthal for a while, as portraits.
Milou Hermus (Amsterdam) was still young when she attended the St Joost Academy of Art and Design. Since then, over the past forty years, Hermus has held many exhibitions in galleries and museums both in the Netherlands and further afield. She has worked for a large number of magazines and has made artwork for many businesses. She has also worked as a (guest) lecturer at various art academies. During her career, she has been awarded several prizes including the Dutch Illustration Prize and the Art Directors Prize for a series of drawings in the Avenue magazine.
The exhibition is accomponied by the book 'Hollandse Heren', a portrait gallery by Milou Hermus'.
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