From the Black is beautiful. Rubens to Dumas catalogue: Charles Roelofsz

Because I receive more and more requests from abroad for the exhibition catalog Black is beautiful, Rubens to Dumas from 2008, I will publish again some of my pieces in this book. The book has become unaffordable on Amazon.

Charles Roelofsz Fantastische voorstelling 1930
Charles Roelofsz Fantastische voorstelling 1930, Centraal Museum Utrecht 

Charles Roelofsz 1897 –1962 Fanciful scene 1930 Oil and gouache on canvas, Centraal Museum Collection, Utrecht

Here Charles Roelofsz has chosen to depict two striking, apparently incompatible erotic figures: a white, birdlike woman with wings, who is possibly connected with revue artistes from the stage, and an earthy, black man with a snail’s shell on his back. The colours he used for this work are soft and sugary pastel hues.

Roelofsz became inspired by the combination of unequal things in a non-rational order.

A painter, draughtsman, illustrator and tapestry designer, Charles Roelofsz is regarded as one of the few Dutch surrealists. In 1933 the artist Jacob Bendien 1890 –1933 wrote of the combination of unequal things in De Groene Amsterdammer: ‘These combinations are not thought up. They come into being naturally in the subconscious. It is our sense of the weird and wonderful, not for displays of edification, but for the direct, gripping wonder; that brings these realities together and the tension the wonder, that keeps them together […].’

This fanciful scene by Roelofsz could represent the power of women over men, a popular subject amongst the surrealists.

It also has a number of features from The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz, a bizarre tale from 1459, popular with alchemists about a number of figures who assume various guises; the story ends with the union of two extremes. Alchemy was also popular with the surrealists, for whom the union of opposites, such as mind and body, was a major theme. The French surrealists met in the Parisian bar Le Bal Nègre where black and white also came together. Esther Schreuder

See for more and footnotes cat Black is beautiful, Rubens tot Dumas (2008)

See also 

Bal Negre Jan Wiegers

Le Bal Negre by John Raedecker 

About me:

In 2008 I was guest curator of the exhibition Black is beautiful. Rubens to Dumas. Important advisors: Elizabeth McGrath (Rubens and colleagues, Warburg institute Image of the Black in Western Art collection), Carl Haarnack (slavery in books), Elmer Kolfin (slavery in prints and paintings) en Adi Martis (contemporary art). Gary Schwartz made his research for The Image of the Black in Western Art available to me.

Black beautiful Rubens to Dumas cover
Black beautiful Rubens to Dumas cover

In 2014 my essay ‘Painted Blacks and Radical Imagery in the Netherlands (1900-1940)’ was published in The Image of the Black in Western Art Volume V (I). (ed. David Bindman, Henry Louis Gates jr.)

In 2017 I published a book about the black servants at the Court of the Royal Van Oranje family. More than a thousand documents have been found about their lives. (only in Dutch)

Cupido en Sideron Cover 30-8-2017

All photos on this site are not intended for any commercial purpose. I have tried to trace all the rules and rights of all images. As far as I know, these images can be used in this way. If you ar a copyright holder and would like a piece of your work removed or the creditline changed then please do not hesitate to contact me.

estherschreuderwebsite@gmail.com

All photos on this site are not intended for any commercial purpose. I have tried to trace all the rules and rights of all images. As far as I know, these images can be used in this way. If you ar a copyright holder and would like a piece of your work removed or the creditline changed then please do not hesitate to contact me.

For more information  estherschreuderwebsite@gmail.com

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