On 30 December 2020, Aad de Haas, the striking Limburg artist with Rotterdam roots, would have turned 100.
SCHUNCK Museum in Heerlen therefore opens from 22 September the exhibition TEGENDRAADS with over 250 works. Simultaneously, the premiere of the film Brieven aan de Hemel (or 'Letters to Heaven'), a personal portrait of Zorba Huisman, granddaughter of Aad de Haas, takes place. SCHUNCK Museum is the permanent collection keeper of many of Aad de Haas' works and celebrates the life and work of the much-discussed artist with this exhibition. An intimate look into the wayward head and passionate heart of De Haas, who lived and worked with his family for years at Strijthagen Castle in Landgraaf, Limburg.
Aad de Haas is known for his contrary attitude to life; activism and autonomy went hand in hand for him. His work can be found in various museum collections and private collections throughout the Netherlands.
With over 250 works, the exhibition showcases the gems from his extensive oeuvre and takes visitors through the multifaceted themes in De Haas' work, which today seem undiminishedly titillating and committed. Themes range from mysticism, power and activism to nostalgia, desire and (fear of) death. De Haas depicted them in an entirely unique imaginative and lust-filled visual language, reminiscent of symbolists such as Gustave Moreau, Odilon Redon and James Ensor.
During the exhibition Tegendraads | Aad de Haas - 100 years SCHUNCK also organises accompanying lectures. Historian Bart Jan de Graaf will give an introductory lecture on the life and work of De Haas on 30 September. On 13 October, cultural historian Ko van Dun places the life and work of Aad de Haas in the perspective of the turbulent time in which he lived, a time of transition from the authoritarian order of centuries to egalitarian mass culture.
'Letters to Heaven' is the honest and personal story about De Haas, brought to you by his granddaughter, Zorba Huisman. For this film, she interviewed her mother, uncles and aunts. A moving account that speaks openly for the first time about De Haas as a father and family man and the moments with him that shaped his children and loved ones into who they are today. During the opening on 22 September, the film will premiere at SCHUNCK.
Aad de Haas's work was labelled 'entartet' and thus banned by the Germans during World War II and he ended up in prison. In 1944, he managed to flee with his wife Nel to South Limburg, where he continued to live and work for the rest of his life as an eventful and socially engaged artist. He is best known for his religiously inclined work. In the years after World War II, he played an entirely unique role in the Limburg art climate. He resolutely rejected trend-sensitive developments and continued to work in a very particular and personal oeuvre in a figurative, expressionist tradition. With de Haas, this wilfulness was not a stylistic issue. He is characterised by an absolute fusion of his life and work and by relentless production: he could not help but make 'beautiful things' entirely for his 'own amusement'.
On the occasion of the 100-year Jubilee, SCHUNCK releases a new publication around Aad de Haas containing a new perspective on Aad's work, person, and zeitgeist. Contributions include A.H.J. (Anton) Dautzenberg, Wiel Beijer, Ben van Melick, Doris Wintgens, Sandra Smets, Berend Vonk and Maria Barnas. The publication is for sale in the SCHUNCK museum shop.
Tegendraads is part of the project Aad de Haas - 100 years. A collaboration between SCHUNCK Museum in Heerlen, the Limburgs Museum in Venlo and Chabot Museum in Rotterdam in honour of the 100-year anniversary. Read more about this anniversary year here >