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- IN THE SPOTLIGHT -

Elisabeth den Bieman de Haas: from fascinated girl to fascinating woman

Elisabeth den Bieman de Haas was born in the spring of 1941 in The Netherlands in an area called ‘Land van Maas en Waal’. Already at the age of eight she developed an interest for art and started collecting old calendars with pictures of works by famous artists to educate herself in styles and eras. It didn’t take long before she was able to see the difference between Manet and Monet.
Driven by her passion for art, Elisabeth started collecting before the age of 18. She turned a hobby into a business when she moved to Amsterdam to open an art gallery that was first specialised in Bergen School and contemporaries. One day someone was looking at the displayed works through the window. Elisabeth walked outside, only to recognize the man and humbly ask: “Corneille?”. This was the beginning of a long-lasting business relation and close friendship. She became fascinated by the then rather unknown early works of Corneille and the later works of CoBrA in general.

She often travelled to Paris, where Corneille had several studios. Together they made many trips to visit exhibitions. However, she was always walking several metres behind him and very little was said. The lack of conversation was quite remarkable, considering that Corneille was a talented writer, who wrote many letters, often with deep poetic content.
The many works Elisabeth has bought over decades result in an impressive collection. Over all, her love goes out to the early works by Corneille, made between 1943 and 1948. This is a special and rather unknown period in Corneille’s oeuvre and quite different from his later work, which he is famous for.
Apart from CoBrA, many new domestic and foreign painters and sculptors were introduced in her gallery, with Jan Montijn and Nic Jonk being among the first. Her choice would be based on the criteria that “A work of art must intrigue, radiate power and display emotion”.

In 2004 Elisabeth was knighted in the Order of Orange-Nassau by Her Majesty the Queen “For her relentless efforts to promote art and artists. She often took great financial risks to launch young artists, organise important exhibitions and have these accompanied by magnificent publications”. Her expertise and knowledge of the CoBrA movement and co-organising exhibitions strongly contributed to the success of the CoBrA museum in Amstelveen.
The successful career of Elisabeth has always remained both exciting and colourful. Moreover, she could always rely on the relentless support of her daughter Mariet in the gallery at the Nieuwe Spiegelstraat. Her motto “honesty is the best policy” is undoubtably one of the roots of her success.

When asked what art means to her, without hesitation she answers in short: “Art to me is everything…”

UP FOR AUCTION


Circus (1947)

Signed and dated 47 lower left Titled and dated on a mount affixed to the backing of the frame Charcoal on paper, 30 x 25 cm Provenance: Collection Elisabeth den Bieman de Haas, Amsterdam, acquired directly from the artist Exhibition: - Maison des Arts, Tunis, Corneille, Un Oiseau Précoce, 10 - 30 October 1998 - Museum Jan ...


Baigneuses (Bathers) (1947)

Signed and dated 47 upper left Pencil on paper, 27.2 x 19.1 cm Provenance: Collection Elisabeth den Bieman de Haas, Amsterdam, acquired directly from the artist Exhibition: - Maison des Arts, Tunis, Corneille, Un Oiseau Précoce, 10 - 30 October 1998 - Galerie Le Salon Rouge, Le Rendez-Vous des Arts et des Lettres, Amsterdam, ‘Mar & ...


Naakt (Nude) (1947)

Signed and dated 47 upper left Black chalk on paper, 29 x 23 cm Provenance: Collection Elisabeth den Bieman de Haas, Amsterdam, acquired directly from the artist Exhibition: - Maison des Arts, Tunis, Corneille, Un Oiseau Précoce, 10 - 30 October 1998 - Galerie Le Salon Rouge, Le Rendez-Vous des Arts et des Lettres, Amsterdam, ‘Mar ...


Couple d'Amoureux (1988)

Signed, titled and dated '88 lower left Watercolour and ink on paper, 21.9 x 21.3 cm Provenance: Collection Elisabeth den Bieman de Haas, Amsterdam, acquired directly from the artist Exhibition: - Maison des Arts, Tunis, Corneille, Un Oiseau Précoce, 10 - 30 October 1998 - Museum Jan van der Togt, Amstelveen, De twee grote liefdes van ...


Untitled (1988)

Signed and dated '88 lower right Ink and watercolour on paper, 38.4 27.8 cm Provenance: Collection Elisabeth den Bieman de Haas, Amsterdam, acquired directly from the artist Exhibition: - Museum Jan van der Togt, Amstelveen, De twee grote liefdes van Elisabeth den Bieman de Haas: Corneille & Mar, 13 December 2015 - 24 January 2016