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Johan Marinus de Vries

Bunker, 1946

A German Atlantic Wall bunker sturdily occupies the left flank of this painting. This concrete construction was part of the German defence line along the west coast of Europe, built by the German forces during World War II to guard against an Allied invasion. We can therefore be certain that Johan ... Marinus de Vries (1892-1982) in any case painted the work after the war ended. De Vries was fond of the dunes near Wassenaar, north of The Hague. He uses minimal colour nuances to deftly capture the dune sand. Swift brown-green licks of paint add depth to the dune – are they tracks? Has someone else been out walking, or are these the artist’s own footprints? Aside from the fact that De Vries spent a year at the Art Academy in Rotterdam (1911), little is known about his artistic training. From the 1920s onwards, his work is a combination of smooth, ostensibly emotionless brushwork and an often cold portrayal of the surroundings. This gives his work an alienating tension and a sense of solitude. In 1931, De Vries moves to Wassenaar and from then on, increases his focus on the dune landscape. Long-term loan from the Cultural Heritage Agency. Text: Boris Ariaens, guide and museum host
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Johan Marinus de Vries
Oil on canvas
41.2 x 51.5 cm (h x w)
Type of object

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