Wim heldens (Sittard, The Netherlands 1954) realist painter ( portraits & narrative ) Lives and works in Amsterdam The Netherlands
For Wim Heldens, a meticulously realistic and time consuming technique, is an expression of dedication and a tribute to the human soul as against the background of a commercialized, materialistic society, people barely have time for each other any longer.
In a time when for most people, life seems to be geared toward instant gratification and making an easy, quick profit, leading to an immense impoverishment of human existence, he chooses to work for months on only one painting in a refined renaissance-like technique.
In his paintings, Wim Heldens wants to confront the viewer with other people, making them aware of the presence of the human character and soul in an art-form that needs no explaining and theorizing.
In his portraits, he is never flattering or glamourizing his subjects. Heldens is always in search of the human soul behind the face, the inner reality behind the faade, which can sometimes make looking at his paintings a rather disturbing and unsettling - but always compelling - experience.
In his narrative paintings, Heldens depicts modern life and the modern relationships people choose to have in our complex multi-cultural society where more and more people choose life-styles different from the ancient conventions dictated by religion and middle-class bourgeois world views. …Read More
The Dutch painter Wim heldens was born in 1954 in Sittard, in the south of the Netherlands. He showed an obsessive fascination with drawing from an early age and when he applied to various academies, he already had an impressive body of work. Nevertheless, his unusual talent was not recognized and he was not admitted. Disappointed, but still determined, he applied to the Kunstacademie in Frankfurt Germany in 1974 and was immediately accepted. But when the good news came, he had just moved to Amsterdam and decided that, he had proven his worth, he preferred to go his own way. Making a living from portrait commissions, Heldens developed this genre as a means to explore the human condition. While around him the modernist revolution was gradually being accepted as a general norm, Heldens explored renaissance techniques and three- and two-dimensional form, including abstract structural patterns (the influence of abstract notions of form is always very close under the surface). Also, the treatment of light by masters of Dutch 17c painting like Vermeer, Terborch and Nicolaes Maes held his fascination. He began to be asked regularly for exhibitions in galleries in the Netherlands. Various trips to Italy in the seventies were a great stimulation; the greatest impression from these years was the psychologically dramatic work of Carravagio. The discovery of the art world in New York opened a new field of stimulation and experience. In the period 1990 95 Heldens divided his time between New York and Amsterdam, easily mixing in the exciting American artistic community where he, within a couple of months, saw his work on show at the Henoch gallery in SoHo, later to be followed with exposure at the Ganymede Gallery and the Open Studio PS122, both in NY City. The wide variety of different trends from abstract via pop art to photo realism which he saw in the East Village, where he had a studio, gave him the inner freedom and confidence to pursue and further develop his psychological realism. He viewed his personal style as a possible way forward after modernism had lost most of its credibility. He painted various portraits in commission, among others for the collector Raymond Saroff, who possesses an impressive collection of American native art. In 1995 Heldens participated in the exhibition Representation represented in the Arnot Museum in Elmira (NY) together with Janet Fish, Gregory Gillespie, Paul Cadmus, Claudio Bravo and Michael Leonard, where Heldens contribution drew much attention. From 1995 onwards, Heldens increasingly focuses on Amsterdam where he found his canvasses more and more in demand. In 1998 he decided to move away from portrait commissions to be able to concentrate upon a more versatile expression of human drama in contemporary life. Over the years, the psychology behind his work gradually became more complex and ambiguous, Claire-obscure more striking, contrasts sharper all along with a continuously developing technique. His paintings found their way into private collections in the Netherlands, England, Germany and the USA, and into collections of the Academic Hospital and the ING Bank in Amsterdam, the Bank Nederlandse Gemeenten , the City Council in Sittard and The Arnot Art museum, Elmira New York. Heldens is one of those artists who know from the beginning what they want to do. For him, painting is a psychological analysis, a narrative of inner life and experience. His realism, which is rooted in renaissance painting but never a stylistic pastiche, gives form to the human condition in modern life.
Gallery Klaas, Breukelen NL 1979 Hospital "De Ligtenberg", Amersfoort NL 1982 Museum "Het Kritzraedthuis", Sittard NL 1983 Museum Aemstelle, Amstelveen NL, 1983 Gallery 2001, Badhoevedorp 1984 Gallery Het Portrettenkabinet, Amsterdam NL 1988 Gallery Bekaerh, Amstelveen NL 1990 Ganymede Gallery, New York City 1992 Open Studio PS 122, New York City 1992 Open House/Open Studio, Amsterdam NL 1993 Gallery De Opsteker, Amsterdam NL 1994 Gallery Basalt, Amsterdam NL 1997 Open House, Amsterdam NL 1997 Artiforum College, Sittard NL 1998 DSM, Heerlen NL 1999 Open House Amsterdam NL 2005
GROUP EXHIBITIONS: Gallery De Muur, Amersfoort NL 1985 Singer Museum, Laren NL 1986 Gallery Het Portrettenkabinet, Amsterdam NL 1985/1986/1987 Gallery Bekaerh, Amstelveen NL 1988/1989 Henoch Gallery, New York City 1991 Arnot Art Museum, Elmira New York 1995/2002 Gallert DArt, Alphen a/d Rijn NL 1997 Stedelijk Museum "Het Domein", Sittard NL 1996/1998/2000/2002 Mall Galleries, London 1998/1999/2003/2004/2005 National Portrait Gallery, London 1998 De Zaaier,Amsterdam NL 2000 Corning Gallery, New York City, 2001 Lizardi/Harp Gallery, Pasadena, CA, U.S.A., 2002 Howard Tullman Collection, Chicago, 2004 Gescheidle Gallery, Chicago 2005 Saint Anselm College, New Hampshire, U.S.A. 2006 Mall Galleries London 2006 The Hatton Gallery, Newcastle-On-Tyne, U.K. ( 23rd June 19th August)
Menena Joy Schwabe Award, Mall Galleries/National Portrait Gallery, London 1998 Basis Stipendium, Fonds Voor Beeldende Kunsten, Vormgeving En Bouwkunst, Amsterdam NL 2000 ,…Read More