Lot 145
Old Masters, Nineteenth Century & Early Modern Art | 8 September 2020
Jan Sluijters (1881-1957)

A male nude standing against decorative background

oil on canvas, 146x106,5 cm
Painted circa 1915.

-Jacqueline de Raad, 'Jan Sluijters: het geschilderde oeuvre', RKD Monographs 2014, as: 'Staande donkere man tegen decoratieve achtergrond'.

-Collection Piet Boendermaker, Amsterdam/Bergen, the Netherlands.
-Collection Elisabeth Model-Dittmann (until 1993).
-Auction, Sotheby's, Amsterdam, 1 June 1994, lot 245.
-Private collection, Amsterdam.

Like his avant-garde contemporaries, Jan Sluijters (’s-Hertogenbosch 1881–Amsterdam 1957) was developing his personal style in the artistically exciting years before the First World War. Characteristic for Sluijters during this turbulent period were his penchant for realism, his disdain for theoretical dogmas, and his driven, toiling method – a duel between ‘man with paintbrush’ and his canvas. The result is a distinct vivacity. His virtuosity allowed him, a modern eclectic, to borrow elements from different styles and movements: expressive colour, Cubist abstractions, and so on – all in service of creating a sense of dynamism in his work.

Crucial for Sluijters’ artistic development was his stay in Paris in 1906. He was captivated by the methods of the neoimpressionists and Fauvists, and specifically by the paintings of Kees van Dongen, who had permanently settled in the city in 1900, where he had become acquainted with the spontaneous art of the French impressionists and expressionists and become one of the pioneers of the Fauvist movement. After 1909 Sluijters paints his (moon)landscapes in which he manifests his interest in a strong contrast of primary and complementary colours. He was passionate about unusual lighting and textures, such as backlighting and melting snow. Following this growth, the figure makes its return in his paintings in the form of nudes in charming poses and realistic portraits. In both, luminist influences, striking contrasts, coloured dots, and stark planes are on full display. These set him apart from contemporaries such as Mondrian, Kees Maks, Breitner, and Isaac Israels. Only his friend Leo Gestel can be compared to him.

After 1914, Sluijters develops an interest in portraying types: dancers, variety artists, boxers, and more. Notable in many of these pieces are the dark colours and increasingly schematic depictions. He would often consolidate early sketches into one large work of art. The painting on offer, ‘A Black Man Standing against a Decorative Background’, is a prime example.

The stimulating role of Dr Jan Esser – the first collector of Jan Sluijters’ works – was key in the early years of the painter’s career. Esser was a Dutch chess champion and a pioneering plastic surgeon as well as an enthusiastic and confident collector. He befriended Sluijters and began collecting his works after 1906, when many Dutch critics were reluctant about the artist’s work. By contrast, Esser’s progressive personality was drawn to Sluijters’ bold work. In 1908, Esser met Piet Boendermaker. Boendermarker’s formative years as a collector were strongly influenced by Esser; the painting on offer at Venduehuis Auctioneers was an early addition to his collection. ‘A black man standing against a decorative background’ was later passed on to other collectors.

This painting might be another version of a similar work ‘Coloured man in jungle’, signed and dated 1915, in the collection (on loan) of the Centraal Museum, Utrecht, inv. no. 26336, see: Jan Juffermans, 'Jan Sluijters, schilder', Mijdrecht, 1981, ill. p. 98.

Voor deze kunstenaar is volgrecht van toepassing vanaf een hamerprijs van € 2400.

€ 20.000,00
€ 30.000,00
€ 62.000,00

Hamerprijs: € 62.000