Stilleven met schedel
The Van Abbemuseum Collection consists of over 2800 artworks. We publish texts and images on an ongoing basis, but this record is currently in the process of being documented.
Like his artwork "Hommage à Conrad" this still life belongs the collection of the Van Abbemuseum’s founder, Henri van Abbe. Van Abbe was interested in contemporary art and held a preference for figurative works. Nijland’s early work is somewhat expressive: he produced a lot of black and white woodcuts. He was friends with artists such as Charley Toorop and John Raedecker, although he did not join any groups of artists or experimental art movements. He went his own way, paying close attention to craftsmanship. His compositions are often stretched horizontally. Consequently, the effect of depth is reduced, placing the emphasis on the objects depicted, demonstrating Nijland’s skill when it comes to the rendering of materials. Nijland always painted objects that had some personal significance. Here we can see two volumes of a book in which the title Reistogten appears. Although Nijland himself didn’t travel any further than Paris, he was interested in tales of faraway travels, which is also reflected in his still life "Hommage à Conrad". The letters "L'Indép" on the newspaper refer to "L'Indépendence Belge", a newspaper that was published from 1843 to 1940. Between 1900 and 1905, Nijland lived in Belgium. The headline "Les Abus du Secours de Chômage" (Unemployment Benefits Abuse) may point to Nijland’s interest in ordinary people and everyday reality. For centuries, the skull has been a symbol of transience. Skulls appeared in Nijland’s still lifes from the 1930s onwards.
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