11 June 2006

A portrait's history

When I got the commission to paint 4 portraits for the covers of the magazine Vrij Nederland we all had no idea who would they all be. As it was an intense (short lasted) political turmoil at that moment I thought I was going to paint some of the national political figures. The first was going to be Tom Barman from whom I only knew the name of his band (dEUS) at that moment, but by now after seeing all his interviews, photographs and listening to nearly all his music I became an instant connoisseur at Barman matters.
The second portrait:
When Edzard Mik from the magazine told me that I would be painting the Dutch crown prince Willem-Alexander, around the theme sport and football supporters in relation to the football world cup, I started laughing. He is of course a known sports fan and member of the International Olympic Committee. But it was not for me the first person I thought I would be painting, specially considering that the other painting I made of him on 1996 (made by invitation too) I based my portrait on the at that moment just finished Atlanta Olympic Games, where he was in a way criticised for being "to mortal" among the Dutch sporters and showing all his enthusiasm. So I called this painting "Call me Billy please!” At that time I didn't know he was called Alexander at home, and then the title would have been different. I tried to portray his 'trying to be normal' side of his.
This portrait, by chance was published on the cover page of the newspaper Volkskrant, so later that autumn when I had an exhibition at the Chopo Museum in Mexico City and the then 'nearly' Dutch ambassador to Mexico, Jan Jaap van der Velde told me that he had seen that work on the newspaper, and asked me why I had not brought it to Mexico. I had not even thought about it. Any way, my husband brought it later and it hanged prominently at the museum. Jan Jaap really liked it and asked his ministry to buy it. Foreign Affairs bought it and he regretted it not having bought it himself. After being posted to Libya he finally came back to Mexico as ambassador looking forward to see 'his' painting back. He brought it back to his office and just one month ago as I was in Mexico and I visited the new embassy for the first time I saw the painting for the first time after 10 years and we made a photo together.
Since 1996 I have made only now and then portraits I have had many other themes. Since three years ago I have committed myself to the Portrait theme as I wanted to discover and learn as much as possible about it and was intrigued by the possibilities of it.
And now I go back not only to portraits but to the sporty side of the prince Willem Alexander.

On the third photo de ambassador and I in may 2006.
On the last photo is the champion cyclist Leontien van Moorsel, as she celebrates the achievement of an important record in 2003 in Mexico next to HE Jan-Jaap van der Velde. The painting is at the back.

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