Lunchroom exhibition 'Zuiver Schoonheid' by Nanna Lea Abigaël de Klerk

Lunchroom exhibition 'Zuiver Schoonheid' by Nanna Lea Abigaël de Klerk

From 9 November 2023 through 11 February 2024, the temporary exhibition Pure Beauty by Nanna Lea Abigaël de Klerk can be seen in the lunchroom of Museum Het Schip.

Nanna Lea Abigaël grew up in an artistic milieu where drawing and painting was more a "way of life" than an occupation. Both grandfathers were very talented painters but the never-known grandfather Michel de Klerk was the most prominent of these. His work is still an important subject of study and inspiration for domestic and foreign architects and designers. Unfortunately, his son and none of the grandchildren knew this father and grandfather. He died when his eldest son was 8 years old.

It was notable that in the family there were some very talented children. For Nanna, there was no question that she had to become a painter like her little brother Thomas. It would take many years for her to actually become one.

At 17, she moved to Amsterdam, rented a room from an acquaintance of her father, worked at the Stichting Goed Wonen and expressed her desire to attend the Kunstnijverheidschool. Her father arranged for her to hospice in the second year of interior design to begin with, uttering the solemn words, - "that he was proud that one of his children would follow in his father's footsteps"-. Bedazzled and embarrassed, she did not mention that she wanted to go to the 1st, preparatory year to study painting. Interior design had never been her passion and so she never put it into practice.

She kept looking for the opportunity to paint, took courses that gave her nothing except the skill of wielding a brush. She detested all those boring still lifes displayed by someone else. It was not what she was looking for.

In 1973, she joined a group of naive painters who painted weekly in Buri's studio. It was there that the penny began to drop. This was starting to look like what she wanted. Just painting what you liked even if it was not reality. Her first exhibition at Buri's gallery was a success. At the opening, all the paintings were sold. Several more exhibitions followed where some of the work was always sold.

In the 1980s, times became harder for figurative art and most galleries and the public no longer wanted to know about it. Ina Broerse's gallery, where she had several exhibitions, ceased to exist and she could no longer find a new gallery that might be interested in her work. In her personal life there were also some hiccups. Her appetite for painting was at a low ebb and to still be able to do something creative besides her job at the UvA, she took a course in garden architecture. Commissions came in and she thought about quitting her job, getting income from these commissions and continuing to paint alongside them. It did not materialise. Once again, she had to suspend her ambitions. First and foremost came raising children, daily bread and the security of a steady income.

At 58, she decided it was now or never and applied to Academy Minerva in Groningen, was able to start in the second year and again skipped the preparatory year, but now the goal was clear. In 2002, she passed her final exams and continued painting at the same pace. The momentum and fun was back in full swing. Her own "way of life" as a professional artist could finally take off.

All artworks displayed are available for purchase directly from the artist.


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