Herman Krikhaar Foundation

Herman Krikhaar Foundation

Herman Krikhaar
A life out of the ordinary: painter, collector and gallery owner Herman Krikhaar made it clear from the start that nothing would prevent him from following his own path in the arts. He started painting at the age of ten: seventy years later he works with the same intensity.

For exactly twenty-five years (1963-1988) Krikhaar ran his well known art gallery in Amsterdam. With great curiosity and a keen eye for quality he gave a large stimulus to the Dutch art world. He never limited himself and collaborated not only with some of the great international art dealers of the day like Kahnweiler, Berggruen and Herstand, but also worked with artists like Marc Chagall and the family of Picasso. Likewise he found great satisfaction in promoting unknown but talented artists.


Herman was born in Almelo, a small town in the east of the Netherlands, and grew up with seven brothers and sisters in the bakery and grocery store of his parents.


Studied at the Art Academy in Arnhem, where he struck up a lifelong friendship with Theo Wolvecamp, one of the future CoBrA group painters.


When he turned eighteen, Herman had to fulfill his military duty for eighteen months. Afterwards he helped his father in the bakery, until he decided to go to Paris.


Stayed one year in the city of art, where he earned his living in restaurant kitchens and as “aide caviste” (cellar help). On the Parisian flee markets he made his first art discoveries, among which a drawing by Rodin.


Worked for the KLM as a steward and purser for eight years, enabling him to explore the world. He started collecting antiquities in the Near and Far East, as well as contemporary art (CoBrA). Kept painting.


Married and moved to Ibiza to paint. Here he found his own style. With their first child on the way in 1962 the couple decided to move back to the Netherlands, and Herman prepared to start a gallery in Amsterdam.


The opening of gallery Krikhaar at the Weteringschans with etchings by Marc Chagall. Soon after, Karel Appel, who lived in New York by then, entered the gallery and asked for an exhibition. The gallery became a focal point for exhibits of CoBrA-artists in Amsterdam.
In 1965 the gallery moved to the Spui in the heart of Amsterdam, which at that point in time was considered the center of the swinging sixties in Holland, replete with “happenings” and flower power demonstrations. Krikhaar’s spectacular openings with Rudolf Nurejev, Jean Shrimpton (the Shrimp) etc. broke through the barrier of elite art and made the art scene accessible to a much wider public. He also focused on young and international artists, including exhibitions with Antonio Saura, Takis, Alex Sadkowksy, Paul de Lussanet and Richard Smeets.


The urge to pick up painting became very strong. In the South of France Herman found a studio, where he worked with great concentration during long summer holidays.
As a result of his friendship with a nephew of Picasso in the late seventies, Herman was able to organize three impressive exhibitions of late Picasso paintings.


He closed the gallery in order to devote himself completely to painting. Had exhibitions at the TETAF in Maastricht (1989) and participated in the Art Junction, Cannes (prix de publique).


Moved to his new house and studio in the South of France, designed by his son Alexander.


Launching of the Foundation Herman Krikhaar,


19 January - Herman died in Draguignan after a short sickbed

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Herman with two models, showing the Twen Collection, 1965 Paul de Lussanet with Jean Shrimpton, 1965
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With Willem de Kooning in his studio, East Hampton, 1966

With Marc Chagall in Paris, 1967
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Karel Appel with Simon Vinkenoog and others in front of the gallery, 1971

Opening with Rudolf Nurejev, 1969
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With Nurejev and Toer van Schayk, 1969

With Karel Appel, 1980,

See also
Altijd een zonnetje erbij (artikel Trouw)
Ten slotte Herman Krikhaar 1930 - 2010 (artikel Parool)
Villers en Krikhaar
Herman Krikhaar te gast bij Barend en van Dorp
De kunstschilder Herman Krikhaar (dailymotion)