Biographical research into the life and work of the Surinamese artist
Erwin de Vries
(b. 1929 in Paramaribo, d. 2018 in Paramaribo)
Currently I am doing biographical research into the life and work of the Surinamese artist Erwin de Vries.
As both a cultural historian and an art-lover I am fascinated by his colourful expressionist paintings, his powerful free-standing sculptures, and his striking sculptural portraits.
A typical feature of De Vries’s art is its association with the human figure. Sexuality became a recurring theme in his work.
It is a challenge for me to interpret his visual work in an art-history context. I also want to examine both his position as an artist and the reception of his art in the Netherlands, where he lived and worked from the 1950s to the early 1980s, and in his native country, the former Dutch colony of Suriname. I will also look at the attention paid to his work in other countries, such as Jamaica, Curaçao, Mexico and the USA. Another question is how, and to what extent, his Surinamese background – which reflects the country’s multiethnic and colonial history – contributed to the development of his work.
(Photograph of Erwin de Vries: Ingrid Moesan)
> Extra information welcome!
If you knew Erwin de Vries well, or possess work of his and would like to share information about it with me, I would very much like to hear from you. Please use the form in the ‘contact’ section to get in touch with me, in either English, Dutch, German or French.
(Photograph of Amsterdam National Slavery Monument:
Erwin de Vries left behind an extensive private archive. It has been taken over and is managed by the RKD Netherlands Institute for Art History in The Hague. The archive will be open to the public and researchers from December 1, 2022.