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Herman Gordijn - The world as a stage

Het Kunstmuseum toont in het Berlagekabinet een groep grafische werken van Herman Gordijn
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We are proud and thankful to be able to show in the Berlage Room a group of graphic works by Herman Gordijn (1932-2017) which Kunstmuseum The Hague recently received as a gift from Joseph Kessels, the artist’s life partner. They are being shown here in relation to an element of his oeuvre that has never before been exhibited: his theatre designs.

Herman Gordijn is known among the general public first and foremost for his realistic paintings. His designs for the theatre, consisting of set models, stage designs and prints of costume designs, are less well known. There are more than 120 such designs in the theatre collection of the Allard Pierson Museum. Over 400 more designs were found in Herman Gordijn’s estate. A small proportion of which are on display here. Over the course of nine years, from 1960 to 1969, Gordijn designed costumes and sets for no fewer than 36 productions.

The characters Gordijn portrays in these designs – and in his prints – do not conform to any traditional, standardised notion of beauty. Gordijn observed people with a sharp eye.

He made quick sketches of his immediate observations, and later developed them into a finished artwork in his studio. In his theatre work, Gordijn was guided not only by the narrative of the play, but also by the actors who brought the parts to life. The results are confrontational images that

ignore traditional ideals of beauty. Together, they show how Gordijn viewed life: as a play in which we all have our own role. 

A book entitled Herman Gordijn – spelen met verbeelding was recently published (in Dutch). It focuses on the designs that Gordijn made for almost all the large theatre companies in the Netherlands. The book is written by Joseph Kessels, with a contribution by Hans van Keulen.

Dates and Times

16 March 25 August
10:00 – 17:00
10:00 – 17:00
10:00 – 17:00
10:00 – 17:00
10:00 – 17:00
10:00 – 17:00
€ 0,00 - 19,00
Normal € 19,00
Young people aged 19 - 25 € 8,00
Under 18 years Free
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