From Vermeer, I have learned a lot about colours and colour in space, and, of course — I’ll say it again — from Jan van Eyck. All these masterpieces are so far removed from us, as if they were hung behind a wall of glass. Today, it’s impossible to paint like Van Eyck. Vermeer, Van Eyck and I perceive nature in a similar way. Our depiction of the natural world has nothing to do with the natural landscape, but with the eternal rhythm of nature.
1 Parisian gallery owner whose eponymous gallery became a centre for avant-garde art from the mid-1950s to the early 70s. She was particularly supportive of Yves Klein’s work. 2 Anthropometry is the study of human body measurement for use in anthropological classification and comparison. Klein used the term to describe performance paintings, where he covered nude women with paint and used their bodies as paintbrushes.
Where does the future of painting lie? Are you asking whether painting still has a future? I don’t believe in a future for panel paintings. That’s because nowadays people no longer learn how to paint. They turn to every possible kind of technique — screen printing, photography and so on. It’s hard to turn away from all that and go back to painting. Can you imagine an artist like Warhol without photography or graphic techniques? The American Hyper-Realists would be unthinkable without photography, even though they have gone back to painting, no doubt as a reaction against the predominance of the graphic arts. Anyone can learn the techniques of painting, provided they are willing. But it is often that very willingness that is lacking. At art school, I was given indepth training as a painter and that is what drives me, not how much money my paintings can fetch.
3 A small town in the province of East Flanders, Belgium. 4 In Grenchen, Switzerland. 5 Pseudonym of the Dutch artist Herman Dirk van Dodeweerd. 6 Painted in few colours.
In an interview commissioned by Anna and Gerhard Lenz, owners of the Lenz Schönberg Collection, and conducted by Reinhard Bentmann, Susanne Müller-Hanpft and Hannah Weitemeier-Steckel at Schönberg on 2 February 1973. Revised and updated by Dirk Pörschmann from a previously unpublished manuscript in the Lenz Schönberg archive.
monography of the works of Jef Verheyen