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De Diagonaal, ca. 1985

Oil on canvas

height 96 cm
width 96 cm

Dutch artist Jaap Egmond (1913-1997) trained as a drawing teacher from 1932 till 1936, after which he started teaching at various schools in Amsterdam. Later he also taught crafts and art history. After the Second World War, Egmond became fascinated by modernism, in particular Mondrian's De Stijl and Le Corbusier's Nieuwe Bouwen. Inspired by this, he worked on the renewal of education in drawing and art history.

In the late 1960s, Egmond started his life as an artist in Amstelveen, in addition to teaching. He made reliefs in papier-mâché. Because of the monochrome surface and repetition of similar elements, these reliefs are often compared with the work of Jan Schoonhoven, who belonged to the Dutch 'Nul' movement in the first half of the 1960s. However, Egmond saw himself as a constructivist, working not intuitively, but thoughtfully and mathematically. As Egmond himself put it: 'The object of the constructivists is to arrive at a geometric abstraction through a logical system of form and proportion.'

Egmond made countless sketches for these reliefs, in which he indicated the different angles of inclination with arrows. In the executed work in papier-mâché a rhythm of tilting surfaces was created, in which light and shadow play an important role. In addition to his well-known papier-mâché reliefs, he later started making metal reliefs and free-standing work. In the end, he even broke with monochromy and made colorful oil paintings.


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