The anger of Joop Moesman

The Dom Tower

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The anger of Joop Moesman

In ‘the anger of Joop Moesman’ Moesman’s ex-wife and collector Carel Snethlage recall memories by looking at Moesman’s paintings, like ‘Farewell’ on which we see the Dom tower disappear in the sea.

Until his father died, Joop Moesman’s world was pretty well arranged. He worked for the Railroad Company and painted as a hobby during his lunch breaks and weekends. His parents’ household provided him with absolute freedom, free from meddlesomeness: ‘Do not paint to live, but live to paint’.

De woede van Joop Moesman

In the house above his father’s printing office on the Neude number 7, Moesman painted the majority of his oeuvre. Later on, the free Saturday, his marriage and the war made it harder to work. Through the evolution of his paintings we see a tumultuous artist life. Nowadays, Moesman is seen as one of the most prominent representatives of Surrealism, yet he only new this style from illustrated magazines.

On the creative process behind ‘The Rumor’, one of his most controversial paintings: “I got a list from someone who wanted to put a new frame on an old painting. I put the canvas in this frame, made an outline with charcoal on linen and made model sketche10and finished it into what it is today.” The painting was labeled ‘obscene’ and was banned from exhibitions, like one at Kunstliefde (Artlove) by the city’s major. Moesman started to hate Utrecht and fled to Schalkwijk where he locked himself in a house he had built himself. As a consequence, he started to have conflicts with anyone he knew.

Carel Snethlage, friend and collector: “He was afraid of anyone coming too close. It was the same with our friendship and with my wife Grietje, who would often have lunch with him while looking at sheet music of Beethoven. All the sudden it would end. It was hard to deal with.”

Moesman’s ex-wife, painter Erika Visser, says he was the most fascinating but impossible man in her life. She states Moesman rejected the erotic interpretations of ‘The Rumor’ and that he would say the woman on the bicycle ‘was looking for a bow’.

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