Nicolas Eekman (1889 – 1973)
Group of Figures
298 x 30cm
Signed in pencil, lower right, with the artist’s red ink monogram.
Born in Brussels Eekman gave his first lecture in Brussels at the age of 18, titled ‘The unknown Van Gogh’ who in 1907 was an unacknowledged artist by the general public.
After graduating as an architect from the Fine Arts Academy in Brussels, he took refuge during the First World War in the presbytery of Nuenen, where Bart de Ligt was a pastor. Thirty years earlier, the Van Gogh family lived in the same presbytery, where Vincent created The Potato Eaters. Up until the end of the war, Eekman exhibited his work frequently in Dutch museums.
After settling in Paris in 1921, Eekman continued showing his art in France and abroad. He was an acquaintance of Piet Mondrian, César Domela, Georges Vantongerloo and Frans Masereel. He became friends with gallerist Jeanne Bucher who in 1928 exhibited his work along with Mondrian’s.
During the 1930s, Eekman participated in many group exhibitions, mainly in the United States, and his solo exhibitions took place all over Europe.
In the interwar period, Eekman was part of the artistic movement that revolved around Montparnasse. There he became friends with Jean Lurçat, Louis Marcoussis, André Lhote, Marc Chagall, Picasso, Dalí, Fernand Léger and Max Ernst, among others.
In 1937, at the International Exhibition in Paris, Eekman won the gold medal for his painting La pelote bleue, which was purchased by the State for the Jeu de Paume Museum.
At the beginning of World War II, he was sought by the Nazis and settled momentarily in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, where he signed his work under the Ekma pseudonym.
In 1944, the Royal Museums of Fine Arts in Brussels organized a significant exhibition in which he participated, which the Queen Elisabeth of Belgium attended.
At the International Exhibition in Deauville in 1956 he was awarded the Nude Art Prize.
In 1961 an important fresco of medicinal plants from around the world was commissioned at Paris Orly Airport.
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