Bram van Velde

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Bram van Velde and Peter Bramsen (1969) by Erling Mandelmann.

Bram (Abraham Gerardus) van Velde (October 19, 1895December 28, 1981) was a Dutch painter known for an intensely colored abstract painting style. He is often seen as member of the Ecole de Paris but his work resides somewhere between expressionism and surrealism, and evolved in the 1960s into an expressive colorful abstract art.

Quotes[edit]

1920s[edit]

  • Part of your work feels as clear, it gives you a sense of liberation or beauty and you recognize it as necessary pavements. You are thus in a sense ready. In the other part of your work this is not the case. Therein is the hidden development, which is the true essence of art... the higher purpose, the pursuit forward that art automatically calls. The unclear part of your work needs to progress (stopping is no option, is no life, no art) and it is clear when by working with head and heart, the real step forward has been achieved.
    • Letter to B. Kramers, 1926, as quoted in: Bram van Velde, A Tribute, Municipal Museum De Lakenhal Leiden, Municipal Museum Schiedam, Museum de Wieger, Deurne 1994, p. 18 (english translation: Charlotte Burgmans)
  • Paris with its multitude of art directions calls continuously to the deepest penetration and recognition of your inner essence. Only in this way it is possible to create work that refers the time span.
    • Letter to H. E. Kramer, 25-10-1926, as quoted in: Bram van Velde, A Tribute, Municipal Museum De Lakenhal Leiden, Municipal Museum Schiedam, Museum de Wieger, Deurne 1994, p. 44 (english translation: Charlotte Burgmans)
  • Art is not for the personal satisfaction of one or the other, but art wants to return all what’s in life... Art wants to give back everything what’s in our lives. The more comprehensive the artist stands in life the more powerful his work will speak, and therefore a work of art is a measure of the mental size of his creator.
    • Letter to H. E. Kramer, 25-10-1926, as quoted in: Bram van Velde, A Tribute, Municipal Museum De Lakenhal Leiden, Municipal Museum Schiedam, Museum de Wieger, Deurne 1994, p. 44 (english translation: Charlotte Burgmans)
  • My work is independent of my will. My best works are created when driven by an inner strength. This has nothing to do with my will. It is that immediate spontaneity of my intense way of living that makes the difference between my work and a lot of other artists who make art works with their mind.
    • Letter to H. E. Kramer, 14-11-1927, as quoted in: Bram van Velde, A Tribute, Municipal Museum De Lakenhal Leiden, Municipal Museum Schiedam, Museum de Wieger, Deurne 1994, p. 46 (english translation: Charlotte Burgmans)
  • I'm now in a big working period, which takes me up so much that hardly anything of me remains. I have never been strong in theories and this becomes worse and worse. My work should give me satisfaction, and that is about life and death.. .. Several paintings full of life and beauty arose again and give me the courage and joy to proceed on the road. There are also several paintings in which I am involved for less than half, discharges in a short time, which have existence for a while, but will not reach shaping.
    • Letter to H. E. Kramer, 28-07-1929, as quoted in: Bram van Velde, A Tribute, Municipal Museum De Lakenhal Leiden, Municipal Museum Schiedam, Museum de Wieger, Deurne 1994 (english translation: Charlotte Burgmans)

1930s[edit]

  • When I am painting, driven by lively tensions, I want to express what’s going on in me. When that tension has ceased, when the life in me became visible, then something happened which had to happen. Over and over again you experience a work which is created in this way. What happened? It is hard to say, because it was not my mind that led but the inner desire that revealed its inner life.
    • Letter to H.P. Bremmer, 17-11-1930, City archive Den Haag, as quoted in: Bram van Velde, A Tribute, Municipal Museum De Lakenhal Leiden, Municipal Museum Schiedam, Museum de Wieger, Deurne 1994, p. 50 (english translation: Charlotte Burgmans)
  • Life and mind are continuously in conflict with each other. I want happiness, security. I won’t reach that by considerations of my mind; on the contrary they will lead to a certain despair of the inner person. Not what he thinks engages the artist, but what he feels.
    • Letter to H.P. Bremmer, 17-11-1930, city archive Den Haag, as quoted in Bram van Velde, A Tribute, Municipal Museum De Lakenhal Leiden, Municipal Museum Schiedam, Museum de Wieger, Deurne 1994 (english translation: Charlotte Burgmans)

1960s[edit]

  • The real world with its common logic pushes us toward catastrophe. The artists seek in his work to free himself from this weight. Art is being transformed into politics, love into trade, education into an apparatus for stifling the mind. In the midst of such horrors, clearly only the dream within me has life. But how do other people live? -There is color, virginal expression - new, without a cage, without routine, without limit, a bath of sun and light. We must realize that nothing man does is of any value. The trouble is that people want to be paid. Only sick men can be artists. Their suffering pushes them into the accomplishment of deeds which reinvest the world with meaning. The sensitive man or the artist can only be a sick man in our civilized life, so full of lies. To think of art as a profession, how appealing! – Painting is man in the face of his downfall.
    • In: Abstract Painting, Michel Seuphor, Dell Publishing Co., 1964, p. 134

1970s[edit]

  • It was truly revealing. The strength of the intervention, the intensity of colors and the happiness of this work, has never left me.
    • In: Article Schilder Bram van Velde in Dordrecht, by Paul Groot, newspaper NRC Handelsblad, 1979 (english translation: Charlotte Burgmans)
    • About the painting 'Piano lesson' of Matisse, Van Velde saw around 1925 for the first time
  • I met Beckett at my brother’s place. That was a Big meeting, in capital letters. It was before war started, life was still normal. That time I was very lonely. We saw each other often. Before the war he had published already something, but his fame came in 1953. We never spoke about his work. He was a taciturn man. Sometimes a word escaped from his mouth. Sure, a word you would never forget. It would stick in your head... This friendship with Beckett is the most important experience in my life. He was fully alive for my way of working. What he could express in words, I did with my paintings.
    • In: article "Schilder Bram van Velde in Dordrecht," in: NRC Handelsblad by Paul Groot, 1979 (english translation: Charlotte Burgmans)
    • About his contact with Beckett, in Paris before and during the War

1980s[edit]

  • A man who is on fire, a torch. His sincerity is absolute. His best painting is the grain field where he kills himself. There we find ourselves at the border of the art of painting. We cannot go further.
    • In: Je peins l'Impossibilité de peindre, by M. Nuridsany, newspaper Le Figaro, 24-10-1989, p. 35, as quoted in Bram van Velde, A Tribute, Municipal Museum De Lakenhal Leiden, Municipal Museum Schiedam, Museum de Wieger, Deurne 1994, p. 40 (english translation: Charlotte Burgmans): About Vincent van Gogh.

External links[edit]

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