There is much to see in this early, intimate portrait by Herman Gordijn (1932-2017). Sonja looks past us, while we can cast a glance through the window behind her. She cradles a cat protectively in her arms. The eyes of the girl and the cat are the same colour and shape – the animal’s penetrating ga...ze is aimed right at us. Dangling at the upper right in the picture is a piece of string, probably from the raised blinds. This allows us to see what is happening in the green courtyard gardens of a residential block.
The painter and graphic artist Herman Gordijn trained at the Royal Academy of Art and at the Free Academy in The Hague from 1955 to 1960. In the 1960s and 70s, he also designed sets and costumes for theatre companies. From 1969 to 1987, he taught at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. He became known for his monumental, commissioned portraits, such as that of Queen Beatrix from 1982, in which he depicts the monarch as a dynamic, modern woman. In 2014, Gordijn was made a Knight in the Order of the Netherlands Lion.
Long-term loan from the Cultural Heritage Agency
Text: Renate Ketelaars, guide and museum host