Retrospective of the Work of Emiel van Moerkerken at The Hague Museum of Photography

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Sunday, May 19, 2024

Retrospective of the Work of Emiel van Moerkerken at The Hague Museum of Photography
Emiel van Moerkerken (1916-1995), His Master’s Voice / Lindengracht Amsterdam, 24 september 1956. gelatinezilverdruk; © Fotoarchief Van Moerkerken, Amsterdam.

THE HAGUE.- The role of Emiel van Moerkerken in the history of Dutch photography is highly important but hard to sum up. In the 1960s, he made reportage-type photos for Dutch Salvation Army magazine Strijdkreet, while at the same time snapping provocative nudes for satirical magazine Gandalf. In the 1930s and ’40s, his work was mainly Surrealist in nature. He was fascinated by the relationship between perception and the subconscious, and between sexuality and imagination. He was one of the few photographers in the Netherlands to produce Surrealist work. In the 1930s, he was even in touch with the Surrealist artists surrounding André Breton in Paris. In addition to his Surrealist images, Emiel van Moerkerken also produced journalistic travel photos and worked as a filmmaker, film teacher, novelist and psychologist. This retrospective at the Hague Museum of Photography offers a fascinating impression of his rich and varied work in the fields of photography and film.

Moerkerken saw Paris as the seedbed of his oeuvre. Even as a child, he regularly went to the French capital to visit exhibitions with his parents. In the 1930s, he often spent time there photographing, filming and meeting other artists. He was inspired by the bohemian existence of the city’s artists, the general atmosphere of freedom and the colourful life of the terrains vagues on the outskirts of Paris. In 1934, Belgian film magazine Documents gave him his first taste of Surrealism: seeing its reproductions of work by artists like Man Ray and Giorgio de Chirico, he experienced a shock of recognition. But he also felt a sense of kinship with the communist ideals of the Surrealists, always feeling at home in left-wing circles and loathing everything that smacked of right-wing attitudes, Catholicism or fascism. In 1947, he published his first photo book, Reportages in Licht en Schaduw, including numerous examples of his Surrealist work and many portraits.

Van Moerkerken photographed countless female models with immaculate complexions and sometimes detached or slightly anxious expressions. Subconscious desires and fantasies were favourite themes of Surrealist artists. Like the French Surrealists, Van Moerkerken turned the female body into a voluptuous object, a fetish devoid of personality. His oeuvre and private life featured innumerable beautiful women and he openly admitted to being a ‘coureur de femmes’ (a womanizer).

His landscapes and urban views are marked both by an interplay of light and dark and by a feeling for detail. From the late ’40s, his photography became more documentary in nature, a change that is apparent in his later photo books Amsterdam (1957) and Meisjes van Nederland (1959). This mixture of reportage and documentary is also reflected in his many portraits of writers and artists, including prominent figures like Simon Vestdijk, E. du Perron, Bertolt Brecht, Gerard Reve, W.F. Hermans, Carel Willink, Brassaï and André Gide.

In addition to the extensive overview of Emiel van Moerkerken’s photographic oeuvre, visitors to the exhibition will also be able to view four of his short films. These will include Volgend jaar in Holysloot (Next Year in Holysloot) in which the artist himself plays the main character, a blind man traversing a variety of landscapes on foot on his way to the village of Holysloot. In 1983, the film won a Golden Calf award for the best Dutch short film of that year. It has recently been restored and digitalised by the Film Institute Netherlands (EYE).

Today's News

August 21, 2011

Photographer Russell James Presents 'Nomad Two Worlds' Exhibition at the Alte Muenze

'King of Cool' Steve McQueen's 911s Sells for an Amazing $1,375,000 at RM Monterey

Guggenheim Exhibition on Kandinsky Offers Insight into Artist's Creative Process

Miami Art Museum Commemorates 10th Anniversary of 9/11 Attacks with Photography Exhibition

New Art Gallery of Ontario Exhibition Explores the History of Industrial Photography in Canada

Musée du Quai Branly Announces 3rd Edition of the Photoquai Biennial Exhibition of World Images

Controversy Follows Conviction of Artist Odd Nerdrum for Alleged Tax Fraud

Frontiers of Another Nature: Contemporary Photographic Art from Iceland at Frankfurt's Kunstverein

New Book Featuring the Work by Diane Arbus to Be Published by Aperture in October

The Mourners: Tomb Sculptures from the Court of Burgundy Opens at Legion of Honor

Retrospective of the Work of Emiel van Moerkerken at The Hague Museum of Photography

Detroit Institute of Arts to Present "Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus" Exhibition

Phoenix Art Museum Exhibition Features Many of Gordon Parks' Most Memorable Images

Who's Drawing the Lines: The Journey of Judith Snow at the Royal Ontario Museum

"Comics at the Crossroads: Art of the Graphic Novel" Explores Work of 40 Northwest Comic Artists

New Exhibition at Heather James Fine Art Features Work by Artist Penelope Gottlieb

Body Art and Topless Model Draw Crowd in New York City

Audits: 95 Problems with Mexico 200-Year Monument

Lincoln Document Returned to National Archives

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. Hommage
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful