Emo Verkerk: new show at the Gemeentemuseum, Den Haag, Holland

Gemeentemuseum Den Haag will present an exhibition of 90 paintings and sculptures, entitled Love Me or Leave Me by Dutch artist Emo Verkerk, one of the most important artists working in the Netherlands in recent decades.

Primarily a portraitist, Verkerk’s principal subjects are writers, musicians and visual artists whom he admires and with whom he senses a relationship, portraying them in unconventional manners. His pieces move away from the traditional boundaries of the stretched canvas, and for example include a portrait on a piece of netting, or a box that opens and folds out into a complete image. Of late, recurring subjects in his work include authors Joseph Roth and Venedikt Yerofeyev. As both their works and their worldviews bear a strong resemblance to Verkerk’s own, the artist has called them his heroes of despair. The visual impact of his portraits lies in the liberating and humorous nature of his pieces, in which certain elements are omitted, inflated, and juxtaposed to reveal his exploration of reality.

This winter’s exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue containing reproductions of over 170 of Verkerk’s works, as well as three interviews exploring the relationship between painting and slapstick.


 Emo Verkerk Sea Eagle, 2001. Collection Guus en Arja Janssen. Courtesy of Gemeentemuseum Den Haag


Emo Verkerk Pushkin and General Grant, 2011. Kranenburg collection. Courtesy Willem Baars Projects


Emo Verkerk Two mallards on the Bassingracht, 2004. Courtesy Willem Baars Projects


Emo Verkerk Portrait of Edward Lear, 1985. Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, gift Art & Project/depot VBVR 2014

by Louise Lui

Emo Verkerk: Love Me or Leave Me will run from November 15, 2014 through 15 February 2015 at Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, Stadhouderslaan 41, 2517 HV Den Haag

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