Chris Beekman became involved in the De Stijl in 1917, and broke away from the group in 1919, although continued to paint abstract work until 1922. This exhibition is the first to spotlight Beekman’s oeuvre, with a selection of around 80 pieces from the collections of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Museum Kröller Müller and the Amsterdam Museum. As well as his work created directly before, during and after the De Stijl period, the exhibit also sheds light on the immediate context within which Beekman operated, and his links with artists such as Bart van der Leck, whom he befriended in Laren. Also on view is work by Piet Mondrian, Jacob Bendien, Ferdinand Erfmann and Johan van Hell, and early, surprisingly abstract paintings by the young Carel Willink.
2017 marks the centenary of the De Stijl’s formation – a legendary group of artists and architects that revolved around Theo van Doesburg, Piet Mondrian and Gerrit Rietveld. Museums throughout the Netherlands will be celebrating this special year. The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam was the catalyst for the international breakthrough of De Stijl and holds a significant body of work created by the movement. The Stedelijk is devoting 2017 to presentations highlighting unexpected sides of De Stijl, such as an exhibit featuring the work of De Stijl defector Chris Beekman.
The exhibition Chris Beekman, De Stijl Defector, is the last exhibition curated for the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam by Bart Rutten.