5. Henk Peeters
Witte Veertjes op Zwart (White Feathers on Black) (1962-1967)
Signed, titled and dated date design ’62 (nr. 62-32a) and date fabr. 01-05-1967 (nr. 01) on the reverse
Signed, dated ’67 and with studio stamp on the reverse
Feathers on felt fabric on painted board, 131.7 x 111.8 cm
– Private collection (acquired from the artist)
– Private collection (acquired from the above)
– Auction Christie’s, Amsterdam, 14 April 2015, lot 15
– Collection Helianthushof, Kruiningen
Gemeentemuseum, The Hague, Henk Peeters, 10 September 2011 – 12 February 2012
In perspex box.
With the cluster of downy white chicken feathers arranged in an elegant formal geometric composition, the monochromatic canvas ‘Witte Veertjes op Zwart’ is exemplary for Henk Peeters’s work and for what he sought to calibrate within his oeuvre. Being one of the founders of the Dutch Nul-movement, he followed the ideas of the international ZERO movement by creating art that was all about eliminating the artists’ personal style and elevating everyday life to art. Peeters was the most active member, notably with regard to the organization, as he made the international contacts, organised the international ZERO (NUL) exhibitions at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and wrote on the theory of art.
The present lot dates back to Peeters’ significant early practise of the 1960s, when he created his most important works by applying new materials, such as these feathers that he systematically stitched into a cotton stretcher. With its fragile composition and tactile material, Witte Veertjes op Zwart bridges the divide between the organic and synthetic, encapsulating the coincidence of everyday life with art.
Executed in a palette of pure white, Witte Veertjes op Zwart speaks to the influence of Lucio Fontana’s ‘Manifesto Blanco’ over Peeters’ aesthetic, creating a juxtaposition between the transient quality of the ephemera employed as material and the infinity of space and light signified by white.
The work embodies the philosophy of ZERO, which is defined by founding member Otto Piene as “A zone of silence and pure possibilities for a new beginning, as at the countdown when rockets take off – zero is the incommensurable zone in which the old state turns into the new.” Peeters himself later added: “In silence, one hears more than in noise. It’s where the creativity begins.”
* Condition report available upon request