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Herman Gordijn

Hooker with Cyclamen 2, 1985 - 1988

As a young boy, Herman Gordijn (1932-2017) once accidentally wandered into The Hague’s red-light district, a world that would fascinate him throughout his life. In terms of subject and composition, Hooker with Cyclamen 2 is similar to the first version of this painting from 1959: a window prostitute... pulling up her stocking. Gordijn revisited the theme 25 years later, this time in a life-size format. Details made way for large planes and volumes. Clad in a sagging orange negligee, the prostitute’s heavyset body stands out against a brick wall. In this way the artist reinforced the monumentality, and the woman almost bursts out of her ‘frame.’ Her robust head and arms, incidentally, have male features. As viewers (voyeurs?) we find ourselves on the wrong side of the window. We are ‘inside,’ which lends the scene an intimate, domestic character, further enhanced by the cyclamen on the sill. The word cyclamen is derived from the Ancient Greek kuklos, meaning circle or target. Does the plant here perhaps allude to the woman as the ‘target’ of male lust? The card in the flowerpot contains a reference to the first version of the painting: ‘Herman Gordijn 1959.’ During the 1970s, Gordijn discovered that expression was better served with fewer details. Having moved to a more spacious studio, he was also able to work in a larger format. Text: Renate Ketelaars, guide and museum host
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Artist
Herman Gordijn
Title
Hooker with Cyclamen 2
Year
1985 - 1988
Technique
Oil on canvas
Size
200 x 160 cm (h x w)
Type of object
Painting
Copyright
©Pictoright

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