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The Knaepen Collection


The Knaepen Collection A Passion for Art 3 November - 23 December 2016

Annely Juda Fine Art 23 Dering Street (off New Bond Street) London W1S 1AW ajfa@annelyjudafineart.co.uk www.annelyjudafineart.co.uk Tel 020 7629 7578 Fax 020 7491 2139 Monday - Friday 10 - 6 Saturday 11 - 5

In collaboration with the King Baudouin Foundation Coll., Belgium cover: Sam Francis Untitled 1964 acrylic on paper 76 x 56.5 cm


Jos Knaepen signing the donation to the King Baudouin Foundation on her 80th birthday


When I first met Jos Knaepen, she was the very portrait of the typical collector who had set out to find a sustainable solution to safeguard her collection. She viewed her own collection with simultaneous modesty and pride, but she could not bear the idea of it being broken up after her death. Jos Knaepen’s collection was created in her own image, with each and every work chosen with care and pleasure. Yet, it was without doubt different facets of Jos Knaepen that had to survive, namely those of elegance, intelligence and goodwill. Step by step, Jos Knaepen devoted the time to build her philanthropic project with the King Baudouin Foundation so that it carefully reflected her personality and became her aesthetic testament. After all, she had rubbed shoulders and enjoyed successful relationships with many of the most important artists and art dealers of her time. Today, a fund that bears her name continues to bear witness to Jos Knaepen’s informed and sometimes mischievous look at the art world. A lively and enduring look. Dominique Allard, Director King Baudouin Foundation September 2016


Jos Knaepen in her home Š Renzo De Ceuster


My mother and I first met Jos around 1972 and my mother and Jos instantly got on well and for more than 40 years we counted Jos not just as a collector, but as a close friend. Whenever she was in London my mother loved to have lunch or dinner with her. In the nearly 50 years that I have been in the gallery, I cannot think of any other person who has collected in such a passionate and direct way. It was always fascinating how she would decide on a work and how clear she would be about this. It is with enormous pleasure and honour that we are able to show part of her collection. All the works shown belong to the King Baudouin Foundation, Belgium, to which she donated her collection. I would very much like to thank the Foundation, especially Dominique Allard, Anne De Breuck and Julie Lenaerts. I would like to thank Guy Benda for his essay, a close friend of Jos’s, who would often escort Jos at exhibitions and fairs and is also an avid collector. A special thanks also to Anne Adriaens-Pannier for her essay and her immense help in getting this exhibition realised. Anne was also a very good friend of Jos’s and as curator at the Royal Museums of Fine Art of Belgium she exhibited Jos’s collection there during her lifetime in 2010. David Juda, September 2016


Josef Albers Structural Constellation (JAAF 1976.3.533) 1960 pen and ink on Strathmore paper 45.7 x 58.4 cm


Larry Bell Drawing 1979 metallic paint on paper 121 x 100 cm


Eduardo Chillida Aquatint, ed 42/50 199 x 158 cm


Jean Fautrier Sans Titre 1961 ink and wash on blotter paper 48.5 x 63 cm


Sam Francis Untitled 1951 tempera on paper 30 x 21 cm


Sam Francis Blue Form 1960 watercolour on paper 40.8 x 32.8 cm


Sam Francis Red Form, Paris 1960 watercolour on paper 43.5 x 32.6 cm


Sam Francis Untitled (Blue Balls series) 1962 watercolour on paper 35.1 x 23.5 cm


Sam Francis Untitled 1964 acrylic on paper 76 x 56.5 cm


Sam Francis Untitled 1959 masonite 15 x 15 cm


I live with my collection... Pushing the door of the manor house close to Montgomery Square in Brussels, where she had lived with her husband Leon, our friend Jos Knaepen welcomed us, surrounded by works of international artists. In the stair-well the large drawings of her English friends Nigel Hall and David Nash invited us already from the outset to think about the personal link between the works and an avid collector. For, to discover, to approach, to appreciate and then to purchase paintings, drawings, engravings and sculptures was indeed the lifelong passion of this exceptional woman. Since her youth she developed a taste for beauty and aesthetics that she first encountered as a teenager by contemplating the stained glass windows of a chapel. However, born into a family of school teachers, her home environment did not influence her first choices, but certainly encouraged her curiosity to discover first the masterpieces of the Old Masters and then the creations of her contemporaries. After her studies of history and history of art she found a wonderful job with an editor. This position led her to visit the big museums at night, in order to compare the colour proofing for art books with the original works. Ever since, she did not stop traveling on a journey of discovery of museums and cultural places in Europe and America. As an art critic she wrote about the art scene and the galleries for many years for The Bulletin, an international European magazine in Brussels. What fascinated her above all was the great art revolution that occurred in the beginning of the last century. She became passionate about the research carried out by the artists who led the way to abstract art. Her library, very rich in theoretical volumes, monographs, exhibition catalogues and catalogues raisonnes, enriched her thorough readings, enabling her to understand the roots of this abstract art. Constantly on the move, curious to visit the exhibitions of both modern and old themes, she would not miss the big contemporary art fairs, either. There, she could freely hunt for works which would speak to her and which would develop a complementary aesthetic approach which was missing in her collection. Her contact with the gallery owners was legendary. She was welcomed with deference everywhere, whereas in fact she would only mostly purchase works on paper, against the big collectors who would chase the latest trends. But her intuition, her fair gaze, her reflected appreciation and her modesty encouraged even the art dealers to set aside works of art for her that she would discover with delight in the stockrooms behind the official gallery walls. It would sometimes happen that she was challenged several times by the same work, on various occasions, before deciding that the piece had chosen her rather than the opposite. That was the beautiful story in 2006 of the encounter with Motherwell, Image 4 n#12.


Initiating her collection with the purchase of a stencil by Joan Miro at the Parisian gallery Maeght, in 1960, she couldn’t resist to purchase a lithograph by Braque, still in Paris, a few years later, having learned the very same day about the artist’s death. Journalist at heart, one could say, she also enabled interesting encounters. Not only in the art world but also in the international political current affairs. Having completed her studies at the Collège d’Europe de Bruges, she obtained a position at the European Community in Brussels, which ensured her a certain financial security. Her interests were thus very broad and her ability to communicate was boundless. Each trip, each visit to a gallery, each exhibition opening, was an opportunity for new encounters, for establishing bonds with artists and dealers. The latter were not always present at street level … but discreetly offered works of reputation and quality. She later admitted having acquired her first Sam Francis of 1959 after merely seeing it on a Polaroid of poor quality. But the price, representing four months of wages, did not frighten her and that was the beginning of a small collection – unprecedented in Belgium - of more than 9 works of this American artist. From the same Berkeley dealer, she got a large lithograph of Ellsworth Kelly and her first Ben Nicholson. Often the purchase of a first piece sharpened her interest for the work of an artist and thereafter, when the opportunity arose, she loved to make two or several works interact. Both in Belgium and in England, where she very often went for family reasons, she enjoyed to visit the artists. A very close friend of hers in Brussels was the painter and philosopher Jo Delahaut. Together, they lengthily devised the world, the art, the philosophy and the sensitivity of the geometry of the colours. At the opening of one of his exhibitions in Brussels, she met Alan Green and a beautiful friendship was born from the purchase of several paintings and works on paper. After the artist’s death she continued to support his wife and to support his work, which developed a rather special grammar of picturality. At the gallery S65 in Aalst and then at the Parc Solvay in Brussels she discovered the sculptures, but especially the large drawings of David Nash. At the time of her last stay in London, in 2013, she visited Nash’s exhibition at Kew Gardens and could not resist to acquire a new drawing, subtly coloured, inspired by his work in nature. The artist Edwina Leapman was known to her by their family ties but she mostly appreciated the freedom of mind of the painter, who put all her life in her paintings with vibrant linear structures. The work in ink of Henri Michaux had always challenged her, mainly by his sense of movement and the spontaneity of the fast execution. It was only many years after she first encountered his works that she could finally acquire one of high quality. In general, abstraction is the thread going through her collection*, as she liked to underline. The sobriety of the works, the purity of the graphic materials, the quiet power of their presence characterized the whole set that she had put together and amongst which she enjoyed living. She also appreciated the monumental character of the drawings – even when the format was modest – drawings which often were the achievements of sculptors like Chillida, Hall, Nash, Nicholson, Soto, Shiraishi.


From the start, she was also attracted by the artists of de Stijl or by the Russian pioneers and she hardly missed any of their exhibitions in Europe or in America. Here as well, her library testifies to this almost visceral interest. And when finally, a first gouache, and later another one, from the Dutch artist Bart van der Leck were within her range, she did not hesitate! The two drawings by George Grosz, purchased in the latest years and very different in their subject, diverge a little from the main idea of the collection. They are, in their realistic expressivity much more thought-provoking. They are revealed to the world like a cry of expression towards an aspiration of independence, they are the visualization of a critical spirit in search of the not dissimulated truth. And it is this search for true beauty with no judgement but open to any freedom of expression which carried Jos Knaepen through all her life and which will remain in our memory through her unique collection. Anne Adriaens-Pannier, September 2016

* Jos Knaepen & Anne Adriaens-Pannier, Je suis un collectionneur de Bruxelles qui, depuis 48 ans, collectionne de l’art contemporain, in: Line & Colour in Drawing, exhibition catalogue, Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels, 2010.


Alan Green Rip Off 1974 acrylic on canvas 137 x 168 cm


Alan Green Grey Junction to Red/Violet 1993 oil on canvas 70 x 70 cm


Alan Green Silhouette 1990 oil on canvas 120 x 120 cm


George Grosz Stunk in der Strasse 1917 ink and pen on paper 28.5 x 22.5 cm


George Grosz Die Strasse c. 1915 ink and crayon on paper 22.5 x 28.5 cm


George Grosz Paul Ball 1920 ink and pen on paper 52 x 40.5 cm


George Grosz SpiessbĂźrger am Stammtisch 1920 ink and ink wash on paper 36.5 x 51 cm


Nigel Hall Drawing No. 129 1979 charcoal on paper 76.4 x 101.6 cm


Nigel Hall Drawing No. 968 1995 charcoal, gouache and pencil on paper 70 x 100 cm


Ellsworth Kelly Cuxa (from third curve series) 1976 lithograph, ed 8/16 85.5 x 103 cm


Ronald Kitaj Jim Dine in Windsor Great Park 1978 charcoal on paper 56.5 x 77.5 cm


Edwina Leapman Bright Yellow 2002 acrylic on canvas 60.5 x 65.5 cm


It is thanks to Jos that I discovered Modern Art and it was she who gave me the taste for it. Therefore, I owe my first painting to her. At the end of the eighties, upon earning my university degree, my parents offered me a gift that would last me a lifetime. At a Christmas dinner, traditionally spent together, Jos suggested a painting, an abstract painting. And not by any painter, but by her friend Jo Delahaut. Thanks to Jos, we had the privilege to be received by Jo Delahaut himself in his studio. After an afternoon of discussions, he showed us several of his works, which were lined up at the bottom of his studio, and I could choose one of them. Now, nearly 30 years later, and in spite of having moved many times since then, this painting is still with me and hung above my bed. This anecdote is revealing of Jos’s personality for several reasons. Not only did Jos love Modern Art and collected it, but she especially loved the painters and being able to share her passion. Jos would not miss her annual trip to Basel for anything in the world. The trip was unchangeable and the visit to Art Basel would certainly commence at the booth of Annely and David Juda. After having admired the works “of museum quality”, as she used to say, on the ground floor of the fair, the end of the afternoon was devoted to the works on the first floor, which were more contemporary. Even if the first floor was not “her cup of tea”, as she enjoyed saying, she would always end up being interested in a particular more avant-garde work, of which she would always ask about the artist. The following day, it would be the visit to the Beyeler Foundation, where she preferred the iconic works from the period Miro/Giacometti, Brancusi/Serra, or Calder/Miro over Jeff Koons’s era. Not only would Jos involve you in her visits to the art fairs (Fiac, TEFAF…) but she would also incite you to visit the museums: Reina Sofia during each stay in Spain, the MOMA in New York, the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia (she would make fun of herself by comparing her own display of the works in her house in Brussels with that of Barnes in Philadelphia), amongst her favourite ones. Jos would also encourage you to make detours, for example to visit less known places such as the Dia: Beacon Foundation up north in the State of New York in the USA or the Jorge Oteiza Museum in the province of Navarre in Spain. I have only one regret: she did not have the time to accomplish her project of longer stays in Switzerland and in the Western United States to visit or revisit the various foundations or museums of Modern Art which abound there. Above all, Jos wanted her collection “not to sleep in boxes” but to benefit as many people as possible. So, it was quite natural, that she reached out for the assistance of the King Baudouin Foundation to preserve it and to show it. I am very grateful to David Juda to have organized this exhibition of part of Jos’s collection. Not only does it meet Jos’s most cherished wish to see her works shown to the public but she would also have been particularly moved considering the profound friendship which bound her to Annely and David for so many years. Guy Benda, September 2016


Roy Lichtenstein Mirror 1972 lithograph, ed 51/80 70 x 70 cm


Henri Michaux Untitled 1970 acrylic on paper 56 x 76 cm


Joan Miro The escape ladder 1940 stencil on paper 32 x 43 cm


Robert Motherwell The Figure 4 # 11 1966 acrylic, ink and collage on paper on card 55.9 x 35.6 cm


Robert Motherwell The Figure 4 # 12 1966 acrylic, ink and collage on paper on card 58.4 x 38.1 cm


David Nash Oak Bowl, Cae’n-y-Coed 2012 charcoal and pastel on paper 66 x 102 cm


David Nash Feather Light 2012 Chestnut-Leaved Oak 37 x 28 x 20.5 cm


Ben Nicholson Blue Seven 1954 oil, pencil and watercolour on paper 20.8 x 13 cm


Ben Nicholson Spanners Carnac (Tools series) 1974 pencil, Indian ink, lavis and watercolour on paper 30.5 x 20.3 cm


Ben Nicholson Urbino 1969 tempera and pencil on paper 48.5 x 30.4 cm


Yuko Shiraishi Red to Red 2004 oil on canvas 76.5 x 66 cm


Jesus Rafael Soto Lineas virtuales 1979 plexiglass, ed. 5/8 50 x 30 cm


Bart van der Leck Untitled 1929 ink, lavis and gouache on paper 32 x 24 cm


Bart van der Leck Study for Compostion 1918 no. 1 1918 gouache on paper 20 x 30 cm


John Zinsser Twin Souls 2001 enamel and oil on gesso panel 35.5 x 28 cm


The Heritage Fund and its patrons help to preserve our heritage The King Baudouin Foundation is committed to the preservation, protection, accessibility and promotion of Belgian heritage through its Heritage Fund. The Fund has acquired a number of endangered works of art and important historic documents over the past 30 years, which have subsequently been entrusted to Belgian museums and other public institutions throughout Belgium so that they are accessible to the public. Patrons rely on the Heritage Fund to perpetuate their collections and implement their philanthropic projects. The Heritage Fund thus manages some seventy-five philanthropic funds active in the field of culture that have been set up by private individuals or organisations. The Fund has enabled a wide range of projects to be undertaken, which include securing for the future collections of works and documents, historic buildings and our natural heritage, encouraging target groups to come into contact with our heritage and restoring important elements of our movable and immovable heritage. Whilst every donation is specific, the objective is always the same: that of handing down this heritage in the best possible condition for future generations, so that they in turn can discover more about their past and better build their future. Prompted by the desire to protect her collection of contemporary art and make it accessible to the general public, Jos Knaepen also decided to donate her collection of abstract art, mainly from the second half of the 20th century, to the King Baudouin Foundation. Jos Knaepen (19332014) was fascinated by abstract art and over a period of almost fifty years, she put together a select collection of 56 works, mostly by Anglo-Saxon artists. Her wish that her collection be kept for future generations and that it be made accessible to the general public, motivated Jos to set up a fund within the King Baudouin Foundation in 2013. In keeping with her wishes, the Knaepen Collection will join other works in public collections. This exhibition, at Annely Juda Fine Art, which is particularly close to Jos Knaepen’s heart, provides an excellent opportunity to promote and honour the collection in London. This exhibition serves as a mark of gratitude to Jos Knaepen and all of the other ‘transmitters of memory’ who, thanks to their own particular vision, enable us to enjoy diversity and renewal. The King Baudouin Foundation was created in 1976 to mark the 25th anniversary of King Baudouin’s reign. It is an independent and pluralistic foundation authorized to receive donations and bequests. Because our mission is to change society for the better we invest in inspiring projects and individuals. We look for sustainable ways of contributing to justice, democracy and respect for diversity. For further information on: The King Baudouin Foundation: www.kbs-frb.be Field of action ‘Heritage’: www.heritage-kbf.be


ISBN 978-1-904621-77-5 All the works of art presented in the catalogue belong to The Jos Knaepen Fund, King Baudouin Foundation Coll., Belgium texts Š Dominique Allard, David Juda, Anne Adriaens-Pannier, Guy Benda translation from French to English: Edna Catarina Pais catalogue Š Annely Juda Fine Art 2016

Printed by Albe de Coker, Belgium


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The Knaepen Collection  

An exhibition of works from the collection of Jos Knaepen, in collaboration with the King Baudouin Foundation in Belgium.

The Knaepen Collection  

An exhibition of works from the collection of Jos Knaepen, in collaboration with the King Baudouin Foundation in Belgium.

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