These three early paintings from1963, a single one and a pair, show a young artist in search of an aesthetic method of vivid abstract expression. On a personal level Engelman was also in search of truth: around 1969, a key period in European history, Adriaan decided to live as a woman, as Adine.
About Adriaan – Adine Engelman
Rotterdam 1937 - Haarlem 2015
Abstract and geometric abstract (1969 – 1990) painter and sculptor (in metal, wood and synthetics).
Engelman was born as a man, Adriaan, in 1937. The (student) revolt of May 1968 in Paris tried to eliminate the old society and its traditional moral. Not only did it have a huge impact in France and in many European countries, it alo triggered something within Egelman: around 1969 he changed his first name into Adine and from then on she lived as a woman. As Adriaan changed into Adine only circa 1969 I shall refer to our painter for events from before 1969 as to Adriaan Engelman.
Engelman studied art at the Fine Arts Academy of Rotterdam between 1960 and 1963 and at “Ateliers ‘63” in Haarlem in1963; between 1963 and 1965 he stayed active at the Atelier 63 as technical assistant. Since 1963 Engelman seems to have settled permanently in Haarlem.
Engelman’s early abstract works, from the 1960s and 70s are said to stand close to paintings by Bram Bogart (Delft 1921 – 2012 Sint-Truiden), an important Dutch painter who had been active in France from early in the 1940s until 1960, settling in Belgium afterwards.
Still I think the differences between both artists are much more important than there mutual similarities:
- with their typical thick impasto Bogart’s creations are at the same time paintings and sculptures; Engelman was active in both art forms, but seperately.
- Bogart made already very early in the 1950s ‘Informal paintings’, with their caracteristic lack of premeditated structure, concept or approach; Englman reached that stage only a few years after our paintings.
- Bogaert loved working in unmingled primary, tight colours, not so Engelman.
Adine Engelman’s body was discovered in december 2015 by the local police at her farm (studio and house) in Haarlem; the conditions of her death, aged 78, seem to have been doubtful.
About our three paintings
Our three early abstract paintings by Adriaan Engelman, dating from 1963 stand far from paintings by his fellow countryman Piet Mondrian, although each tried to achieve purity, which they could not find in the real world but in abstraction. Mondrian evolved in the late 1910s and during the 1920s to clinical precise abstraction of flat forms to reach the elimination of movement and of depth in his search for a universal aesthetic language that would translate the dynamic balance of nature. Engelman evolved in a completely different way, trying to lose control over the paint in an extremely spontaneous dynamic proces of creativity, closer to American Expressionism and to Arshile Gorky.
Why should you buy these paintings?
Because these early works show a nervous balance that Engelman was also seeking in his/her own life.