Who is Rien Verschuur

Universality and daily reality in Rien Verschuur’s art

Timeless principles and everyday’s events are in Rien Verschuur’s works of art not different worlds but form a whole. Both aspects of life, universality and daily reality, are highly interesting for the artist Verschuur. He is as fascinated by the essence of the phenomenon “light” as by the activities on a building site.

Grown up in Amsterdam

Rien was born in Amsterdam in 1946, just after World War II, but passed his early childhood in Indonesia, at that time a Dutch colony. After that raised in Amsterdam, where in the last grade of the Roman Catholic primary school his teacher Brother Ferini introduced him into the world of literature, music and the fine arts. Although he likes to talk about his works of art, Rien Verschuur emphasizes that his creations need no further explanations: "Every work must speak for itself. What I put into a painting or a pen drawing during ling hours of creative labour I cannot add a lot in words. My paintings begin their own life and in a way look for a buyer themselves". Rien was born in Amsterdam in 1946, just after World War II, but passed his early childhood in Indonesia, at that time a Dutch colony. After that raised in Amsterdam, where in the last grade of the Roman Catholic primary school his teacher Brother Ferini introduced him into the world of literature, music and the fine arts. Although he likes to talk about his works of art, Rien Verschuur emphasizes that his creations need no further explanations: "Every work must speak for itself. What I put into a painting or a pen drawing during ling hours of creative labour I cannot add a lot in words. My paintings begin their own life and in a way look for a buyer themselves".

Rien Verschuur

Resemblance with the art of glass-painting

Looking at some of his colourful pen drawings and oil paintings the resemblance with stained-glass windows in gothic cathedrals is obvious. Although Rien is aware of this similarity with the traditional art of glass-painting, he is not able to explain it. "Why I came finally to this form of expression, I do not know. The expressionism of Der Blaue Reiter and the ideas of Bauhaus have been enormous source of inspiration for me, but in the end I believe in myself, my own intuition and my creative urge".

"The Four Seasons".
folding screen, commissioned by Beekwilder BV, Amsterdam.
acrylic paint on canvas
4 panels 60 x 180 cm

"Often my present work is connected with personal experiences in a recent or distant past. My years of childhood in Indonesia have definitely contributed to the mystic and romantic elements in my world of experience.   Later in Amsterdam in a liberal Roman Catholic environment a certain religious notion has been added, the insight that there exists something that goes far beyond the common world but on the other hand expresses itself in the very down-to-earth things".

"The death of my parents at relatively young age made me aware that the reality does not care about our feelings and dreams. That period brought me the insight that we cannot escape from the reality of life, a reality that is often pleasant but sometimes unimaginably hard.   Also that insight is present in my work. I was already more than forty years old before I found a balance where the influences from the different phases in my life became harmonious".

Multiple levels

Rien Verschuur’s work of art takes the spectator away into a unique visual experience.

"Woman and child in tulipfield"
Pen-drawing, 60 x 80 cm

The first impression is often one of a remarkable geometric/abstract expressionism. Light that rushes outward from a centre. Explosive power. Then there is the story: images from the ordinary life become visible within the line pattern and get some relativity with their subordination to the powerful primary form and dynamic.

At the same time the ordinary reality in the art is brought at a higher level, raised above the coincidence. But then there another level: the shapes in the background have a pleasantly warm structure, a pleasant radiation. "The pen drawing technique I work with is very labour intensive", says Verschuur, "but I like to use it, because it allows me to paint fine details and to bring shapes alive".

Fascinated by the phenomenon light

"I work mainly from my intuition, from a personal motivation that is hard to rationalise. I learned from Der Blaue Reiter expressionists that a work of art is always very individual, very subjective. The artist puts a great deal of himself into it, and that is the way it should be. Therefore I am sometimes very hard-headed and I create a piece of art without reserve as it arises".

"I am fascinated by the phenomenon light, and especially by the speed of light. Rembrandt used the light mainly to create special perspective, but at the same time you can already observe some of the speed, the movement of light.

In my work I try to express both the Universal principle of the speed of light as well as certain unique moments in life. The daily reality has very special aspects if you look with the right eye. Take for example a building site, where workers are busy with making reinforcements and pouring concrete. Such situations where people create something with their hands are magnificent".

"We from Moes";
pen drawing commissioned by Moes Construction Company in Zwolle (NL);
250 x 150 cm

The interest in Verschuur’s work has grown explosively over the last years. His monumental works of art gather also interest and appreciation from the industry. He received commissions from Gaba in Almere (NL), Price Waterhouse Coopers in Amsterdam, Elmex Wybert in Lorrach (GE), Lindt & Sprüngli in Zürich (CH), Fenjal in Bazel (CH), Westropa Hotel in Amsterdam, the Fire Brigade in Zwolle (NL), Moes Construction Company in Zwolle (NL), Beekwilder BV in Amsterdam, Muwi in Amersfoort (NL).

Rien Verschuur’s works of art can be found in Brussels, London, Liechtenstein, Buchs (CH), St. Moritz (CH), Zürich (CH), Bazel (CH), Kansas USA, Graz (A), Vienna, Wiesbaden (GE), Lörrach (GE), Curaçao, Athens (GR), Anger (FR), Paris, New Milford (USA) and numerous communities and private collections.

Image Gallery Rien's younger years