My Utrecht Art Collection

Utrecht Kunst
It should come as no surprise that I have a fondness for old photos of Utrecht and contemporary art inspired by the city. Over the past few years, I’ve been creating my own little collection. I don’t have as much as I would like, but I do have a list of artists and images I hope to add some day. For now, though, I have a small gallery wall that makes me happy.

The large print on the right was one of my first pieces. I’d seen it on Pinterest first, actually, but couldn’t find any info about it at the time (one of the drawbacks of the site). Eventually, though, I found the print itself at one of the local art stores and couldn’t resist. It’s a great collection of Utrecht symbols including lovely Lepelenburg Park, the Willibrord statue, Broodje Mario, the train station, and one of Rietveld’s chairs. What’s not to love?

To the left is an old print of the Paushuiz as it originally looked before the additions. Beneath that is the first print I bought from Ellessi at one of the Christmas markets. I just fell in love with her style. That day, I’d seen the next print to the left, on the top, but hadn’t had enough money with me to get it. The next time she was in town at one of the markets, I went specifically to get it. It’s a view of one of the cafés at the Donkere Gaard, as seen from another café that I frequent from time to time. Beneath that is another old print of the Oudegracht and the old crane that used to stand by the Winkel van Sinkel. Tucked in the corner is one of my own small photos that I have a fondness for.

The small picture on the bottom left is an antique postcard of the Breyerskameren, a view I get daily, as it’s across the canal from the park where we’ve taken our dogs over the years.

And on the top far left is my first print from L-Tuziasm. He’s a local artist I’ve written about previously. I absolutely love his work and hope to purchase one of his paintings some day. Each year, though, he does a limited print of the Domtoren. This was the first one I was able to get. However, I recently added a second one, the most recent one he’s done.

I had requested my copy, but a while later he contacted me to work out a barter. He was putting together a catalogue of some of his work and wanted to include an English translation. I helped him with that in exchange for the print (and a copy of the catalogue). Awesome deal! I might need another print before I can hang it, in order to get things balanced. For now, it’s sitting happily beneath the gallery wall, with one of my own photos and a few odds and ends.
Utrecht Kunst

In Search of Art

Portrait of Amalia van Solms
The Centraal Museum has undergone some renovations and expansions recently and they’ll be officially unveiling them this coming Friday and over the weekend, as part of the National Museum Weekend. To raise awareness about the museum and it’s collection of Utrecht artists, they have put up murals of some of the museum’s collection on walls around the city. Today, I went in search of one.

Charlie and I headed out for a nice walk in sunny weather with deep blue skies overhead. I took a slightly different route than I usually do to end up at the Van Asch van Wijckskade. When I got to where I thought it was supposed to be, I was clearly in the wrong spot. There was a building with a painting on it, but it wasn’t the one I was thinking of. Slightly confused, I decided to keep walking. Turns out I had stopped a block too soon.
Portrait of Amalia van SolmsBut there she was, the Portrait of Amalia van Solms (1602-1675) by Gerard van Honthorst. With the trees starting to bloom and the glorious blue sky, she was in the perfect setting. Nor was I the only one admiring her. Another girl had approached just as we did and she walked up close to pause for a moment and admire Amalia.

There are two other murals to see, but they’ll have to wait for another outing. I do have two tickets for the museum’s grand opening on Friday. I would take Charlie, as he seemed quite interested, but I suspect he may not be so welcome. I guess I’ll just have to take G instead. Charlie is disappointed.
Portrait of Amalia van Solms

One Last Nijntje

Nijntje!
On the Jaarbeurs side of the train station there was yet another Nijntje on parade last summer. She had a view of the recently completed new town hall building. This splatter version of Nijntje (called Nijntje!) was by Jurriaan van Hall. His approach was like that of a toddler, tossing colorful plaster to create something between painting and sculpture, all the while paying homage to her playful character.
Nijntje!
Nijntje!
Nijntje!

Oma Nijn

Oma Nijn
I never finished posting some of the Nijntje statues that were dotted around the city last summer as part of the celebration of Nijntje’s (Miffy’s) 60th birthday. Seeing as today is Easter, I thought today might be a good day to post one of the image-heavy Nijntjes. This one is Oma Nijn (Grandma Rabbit) by artist Charlotte Dematons. Her version has Nijntje in a cozy cardigan featuring typical scenes of Dutch culture with Nijntje scattered throughout. I like the one where she and her friends are cycling through the tulip fields in both sunshine and rain. A bit like today! Which is your favorite?
Oma Nijn
Oma Nijn
Oma Nijn
Oma Nijn
Oma Nijn
Oma Nijn
Oma Nijn
Oma Nijn
Oma Nijn
Oma Nijn
Oma Nijn
Oma Nijn
Oma Nijn

Camera Obscura

photo

A friend of mine came for a visit yesterday, but before meeting up with her, I took Charlie out for a walk to try to make up for the fact that I was going to be gone all day. We’d had a very light dusting of snow during the night, but nothing to make walking around treacherous. We had the added benefit of some glorious sunshine, but that’s more relevant to the photos I took later in the day.

Anyway, as Charlie and I were wandering around, I decided to finally go in search of the Camera Obscura I’d seen recently on Instagram. This house on the Kromme Nieuwegracht once belonged to photographer Frans Ferdinand van der Werf (1903-1984). He settled in Utrecht in the 1930s and became well-known for his photos that ranged from comic scenes in the city to the liberation of Utrecht by the Allies.

There is currently a free exhibition of his work at the Utrechts Archief, which is running through 21 May. I suppose I’ll have to leave Charlie behind again for that one, but I really do want to see the exhibit. Maybe I can get some fresh photography inspiration.

Superguppie Hearts Nijntje

Superguppie xx Nijntje
Next stop on the Nijntje Parade is the Domplein, where two of the decorated, larger-than-life statue of Nijntje (Miffy) can be found. Even amid festivals and markets, the statues stake their claim.

This one seems a particularly good pairing. It’s titled Superguppie xx Nijntje, by Fleur van der Weel. She’s the illustrator behind the Superguppie books written by Edward van de Vendel. Her style blends well with Dick Bruna’s simple graphic style, not surprising, as she’s a fan of his work.
Superguppie xx NijntjeSuperguppie xx NijntjeSuperguppie xx Nijntje

Honeybun Nijntje

Nijntje Honeybun
The vismarkt (fish market) might not seem the obvious spot for a somewhat glam rabbit, but that’s just where you can find this almost exotic looking version of Nijntje/Miffy. She’s certainly got a great view of both the Oudegracht and the Stadhuis. She hit the jackpot on location as part of the 60th anniversary celebration of Nijntje!
Nijntje HoneybunShe gets a lot of admirers, as well. This little girl seemed pretty enamored with her. Or maybe it’s just the name. This eye-catching rabbit has a mouthwatering name: Honeybun. She was painted by artist Barbara Wijnveld. She’s grown on me the more I’ve looked at her. Beautiful colors, and lines full of movement, but with an alluring stillness.
Nijntje Honeybun
Nijntje Honeybun

Multiplying Nijntjes

Klaas Gubbels Canto Ostinanto Nijntje
The rabbits in Neude are multiplying.

As part of the celebrations of Nijntje/Miffy’s 60th birthday, statues — decorated by a variety of artists — are showing up all over the city. Our Thinker on a Rock rabbit has been joined by a version of Nijntje decorated by Klaas Gubbels. His work, titled Canto Ostinato, is inspired by a painting of his by the same name. He, like Nijntje’s creator, Dick Bruna, works primarily in two dimensional images, although in this case, two two dimensions have been applied to a three- dimensional form.

Hopefully this week I’ll get a chance to show you some of the other Nijntje statues around town. I’m missing a few, but may be able to catch a few this weekend if I’m vewwy vewwy quiet.
Klaas Gubbels Canto Ostinanto Nijntje
Klaas Gubbels Canto Ostinanto Nijntje
Klaas Gubbels Canto Ostinanto Nijntje

More Goodies from the Zelfgemaakte Markt

Zelfgemaakte Markt
I’ve posted before about my love for the Zelfgemaakte Markt (Handmade Market), so I was thrilled that it was back in Utrecht this weekend. This time, it was in the Domplein, instead of its previous spot at Mariaplaats. It was also paired with a food festival of sorts, with one side of the square filled with food stalls selling food to eat then and there, as well as food to take home. Tempting, but I was there for the arts and crafts.
Zelfgemaakte Markt
I continue to be impressed with both the quality and the cost of the items in the market. Everything is appealing and made by lots of talented people and surprisingly affordable. Ceramics, t-shirts, prints, drawings, and so much more … I wanted just about everything! Way too often, you go to markets like this and there are only one or two stalls with things you’d actually be interested in looking at, much less buying. Here, everything is of interest!

I did a quick run through to see what was really catching my eye (and to see what I could afford, since I had limited cash and not everyone takes PIN). My mental list was getting pretty long! Then I saw the Toepas stall and had to stop.
Zelfgemaakte Markt
It was at the market around this time last year that I first saw the Toepas Creaties stall and the fantastic items she makes from reclamed/recycled items, including ad banners and, of course, wine bottles. We ended up buying a number of her wine bottle candle holders for Vino Veritas and they remain real eye catchers. I stopped at her booth to say hi, but also to get a look at the necklaces she has started making. I’d seen them on her Instagram account and wanted to see them myself. They were just as cute in person and I made my first purchase of the day, buying one of the fox pendants.

After chatting, as I was walking away, I heard someone go up to the booth and clearly say “Vino Veritas”. Whether customers or someone who had seen the candles in our window, it was great to hear someone recognize them and make the connection!
Zelfgemaakte Markt
Next up was a stop at IsaBella’s stall. As soon as I saw her flamingo print, I knew I had to have it. That said, I would have happily bought one of everything. I really like her style and the whimsical nature of her prints. The hot-air balloon print would also go nicely with the new sofa pillow covers I recently bought. And though it wasn’t intentional, I love that I caught her in much the same pose as the girl in her print!
Zelfgemaakte Markt
My final stop was at the booth of another artist, Julie. As well as a fondness for flamingos, I also have a thing for dodos. When I saw her “Je t’adore” illustration of a dodo, I couldn’t resist!

I really wanted one of the Domtoren silhouette prints by Lucas van Hapert, but funds were running low at that point. But hopefully the opportunity will arise again. I picked up his business card as a reminder.
Zelfgemaakte Markt
It was a perfect day for the market, with the sun shining, and temperatures pleasantly warm. The square was filled with people, many of whom were clearly foreign tourists. On the plus side, yay, more people are learning about Utrecht! On the down side, it’s definitely getting more crowded and manoeuvring around all the tourists (who don’t want to move out of the way) is bringing back memories of New York.Zelfgemaakte Markt Hopefully, some of these tourists picked up a few items at the market to serve as lovely souvenirs. I’m certainly happy with the items I picked up! (The book was from a second-hand book shop and ended up being a story on its own. Not worth going into, but it seems I have an American laugh.)