Jurjen de Haan belongs to the post-war generation of the Hague School of Painting. He studied painting at the Koninklijke Accademie voor Beldende Kunste, The Hague from 1955 to 1960, including with Co Westerik.
In addition to a photorealistic phase (1970s), he focused on the artistic ideas and visual language of the Cobra Group, of which Karel Appel, Constant or Asger Jorn were significant members. Their primary goal was to express emotional states immediately and spontaneously. Like the Cobra artists, Jurjen de Haan used a spontaneous style of painting to create his brightly colored, abstract figurative compositions.
Based on the poetry of the 1950s, the literature should become the driving force and inspiration of his painting oeuvre: ‘I was a follower of Cobra and the poetry of the 1950s. It must have been in 1951 that I worked in the Hoonhoud bookstore in Laan van Meerdervoort as the youngest, or rather, the ‘lowest’ employee, as a man with a pack of copied poems that spoke to me solely by reputation came. There were eleven atonal poets on the title page. I knew them, they were all rank and name, they were innovative and experimental. One of the poems made me almost dizzy. What was it: the form, the content? It was all together – I saw colors, the smell of smoke and heard noises. The title was “Februarizon”, the name of the poet was Paul Rodenko ‘(quoted from: In memoriam Jurjen de Haan, in: Extaze, Literair Tijdschrift, link: https://www.extaze.nl/?p=9757) .
De Haan’s works are often subsumed under the keywords “post-cobra” and lyrical abstraction. They have abstract figurations that develop an individual life of their own on the picture surface and illustrate the almost childishly naive joy of the artist in the design. Colored forms, sometimes with, sometimes without contours, which De Haan formulates in a free brush style on the picture surface, stand against a mostly gray-toned background, which emphasizes the intrinsic values of the colors even more.
De Haan worked as a lecturer at the Academy of Fine Arts in Arnhem from 1963-1991, and also headed the Pulchri Studios art association in The Hague from 1982-1987
Awarded several prizes, his works have been presented in numerous exhibitions and are included in important company collections in the Netherlands. In 2003 the Hague City Council bought one of his paintings as a gift to Prince Willem Alexander and Princess Maxima on the occasion of the birth of their first daughter Amalia.
Pulchri Studios, The Hague will dedicate a memory exhibition to Jurjen de Haan and his life partner Maarten van Dreven 2019 (13.01.-03.02.2019)