The Klasema ART abstract Modern Art collection covers a unique selection of prominent early European, North America and Russian Modernist artists, painters and sculptors. Driven by passion for beauty and quality, these (geometric) abstract Modern artworks have been carefully collected over the past forty years, with a special focus on abstract Modern artworks from the influential post-war period (1945–1976).
Stumbling upon the Klasema Art Collection is like stumbling upon a treasure trove – an encyclopedia of modernist art. All abstract and predominately geometric in nature, the collection as a whole is fascinating and inspiring in its vision. Yet, surprisingly, Klasema ART remains accessible and educational in its overall approach.
I found Klasema in my young and eager searches for inspiration and in my hunt for adding to my own collection of geometric abstraction. Searches for Joost Baljeu, Jean Gorin and Silvano Bozzolini kept leading to the same place.
At first apprehensive to make first contact and inquire I found the site an exceptional source of knowledge. I am happy that I did. You see, I am in the United States – Klasema, the Netherlands. Although fond of early American geometric abstraction my tastes and curiosities have grown to European works which inspired (and were inspired by) the same vein of mostly non-representational art. Our esthetic tastes are very well aligned with painting and sculpture dominating the collection.
I would have never realized that the people I’d make contact with at Klasema were so very open and approachable – not to mention as passionate. Almost like a close friends I’ve known for years whom I just so happen to have never met. Not yet anyway. Equally open to a question from a young artist or from a seasoned collector interested in their next acquisition.
Original founder Henk Klasema had little by way of serious connection to art in his youth, but always, an appreciation stood very close by. As he matured and became successful in his business endeavors his appreciation exploded into a life-ling passion. Much like a collapsing celestial being his passion’s gravity soon caught hold of his immeadeate family.
Unexpectedly, Henk Klasema passed away in 2011, now the collection and its private museum-like grounds are continued by his wife Anneke Klasema van Loenhout, who stood at his side for forty years and is as passionate an knowledgeable about Abstract Modernism and the artists in the KLasema ART collection.
As is usually the case with any serious art collector the family made friends with the artists, acquiring bodies of work that often span their careers. This collection often exhibits the nuances and changes within several of their artists works over a span of time. As the collection grew the family started acting as both collector and dealer of these works by placing important works into other collections and publishing multiple books and catalogs.
Visit the Klasema ART – Collection of Modern Art online. I like that each piece is accompanied by a description and information about the artist/creator.
A few questions
…with the collection’s director Anneke Klasema
CI: All of the work represented is abstract and geometric in nature. Some is very tight and what one thinks of as hard-edge geometric abstraction (Jean Gorin for example) – and some work is very loose, bordering on abstract expressionist (Hendrik van Bottenburg and Willy Boers). Can you give us some insight into how the collection has evolved to include this mix of esthetic over time?
(AK): As do most Artists, we started out with an interest in high quality figurative art. Names like Gino Severini, Isaac Israels, Reimond Kimpe, Hendrik Willem Mesdag and Max Peiffer Watenphul were part of our early collection . We however changed gradually into acquiring more and more early Modern abstract artworks. As my husband once put it ‘Abstract art is very personal and touching. For me, the feeling of equilibrium and beauty is important. Exaggeration of colour and composition must be avoided. In my opinion an artist should always focus on the heart of the matter and should try to keep things as simple as possible’.
CI: If you and your family were to choose one or two works in your current collection that could be considered a quintessential work which piece would it be? What about this work makes it such a great representation of the collection?
(AK): This is always a difficult question. This is a very personal thing. Different people have different tastes. But for me the works that have very special meaning and can be considered quintessential to our collection are the Joseph Lacasse (1952), Nicolas Warb (1945), Dolf Breetvelt (1950) and the Walter Helbig (1932). These works are all absolute masterpieces by the artists. The use of colour and composition, the quality and uniqueness. Over the years my husband Henk and I have always focused on collecting top quality art, and these works are just that.