The figuration is a constant in the Dutch visual arts of the 20th century, also after the Second World War, when experiment and abstraction predominate.
Protest against abstraction
Sometimes the figuration is a form of protest against the monopoly of abstraction. For example, in 1945 Kees Verwey and Otto B. de Kat founded the Hollandse Aquarellistenkring, whose artists relied heavily on visible reality and focused on traditional subjects such as landscape and still life. Many artists joined in a short time, including Kees Andréa, Jan Wiegers and Matthieu Wiegman. The Realists formed in Amsterdam in 1948, with Nicolaas Wijnberg, Theo Kurpershoek and Hans van Norden as initiators. They wanted to develop expressive figurative art as a counterpart to abstraction. Exhibitions of a varied group with participants such as Jan van Heel, Herman Berserik and Kees Andréa followed each year. The highlight was the exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam in 1951. In the 'den of the lion', because under the direction of Willem Sandberg, this museum was also a platform for the CoBrA movement at the time.
In addition, there are the artists who continue the realism, the New Objectivity, the surrealism and the magical realism that started in the 1930s, such as Charley Toorop, Edgar Fernhout, Ger Gerrits and Gerard Röling. And the painters who seek their own way within the figuration, such as Jan Voerman Jr., Sal Meijer, Jan Bogaerts, Ferdinand Erfmann, Harm Kamerlingh Onnes, Anton Heyboer, Henk Helmantel and Erik Andriesse. It is striking that after 1945 many sculptors stick to the craft and a figurative style, such as Mari Andriessen, Charlotte van Pallandt, Piet Esser, Hildo Krop, Han Wezelaar and Theresia van der Pant.