Dutch expressionism at its best

TEXT: XANDRA BOERSMA | PHOTOS © CHABOT MUSEUM

Monumental landscapes in all seasons, penetrating images and almost caricature faces. Once you have seen the paintings of Dutch artist Henk Chabot, you will recognise them instantly. And it is this that makes the Chabot Museum so well worth a visit.

In Rotterdam, the city where Henk Chabot (1894-1949) lived since he was a child, lies an impressive building. A monumental villa from the Modern Movement period, designed by renown Dutch architect Baas en Stokla. It houses the Chabot Museum, which is part of the museum park. “A very special location,” confirms Jisca Bijlsma, director of the museum. “It’s very light and spacious, giving an immediate view of the green surroundings, like a living room.”

To celebrate its 25th anniversary, as of 27 November 27, a special collection will be shown at the museum, dedicated to Chabot’s work of refugees and people in hiding during the Second World War. “Chabot always said: ‘I paint people, animals and polders’. Dutch landscapes and figures were his favourite motif. This collection is a great summary of his work.” Chabot’s most famous painting is of the Burning of Rotterdam right after the bombings in 1940. “Also a very impressive painting, created near the river Rotte with a bright red sky. Painted from his imagination, which makes it very powerful.”

Bijlsma concludes with a suggestion for visitors interested in the special architecture: “We offer some very interesting experience tours in collaboration with various other organisations. Like a tour through the Chabot Museum and the UNESCO Van Nelle factory, also built in the 30s, by Brinkman & Van der Vlugt architects. And you can also learn more about the surrounding white villas in the museum park.”

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