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Erwin de Vries



About

Erwin de Vries (Paramaribo 1929 – Paramaribo 2018)

Driven by feminine beauty and eroticism, he created flamboyant and colorful compositions, reflecting his multicultural background. With powerful brushstrokes, he captured female curves, sensuality, and life energy captivatingly. He worked realistically and abstractly.

The most important milestone in his career was the creation of the Slavery Monument, placed in Amsterdam’s Oosterpark, unveiled by Queen Beatrix on 1 July 2002.

From a very young age, Erwin knew he wanted to become nothing else but a visual artist. From his very first exhibition in Paramaribo in 1948, he expressed himself in visual art in an unprecedentedly dynamic and vital way, not only in terms of his chosen style but also in the way he exhibited these works of art. A versatile, expressive artist. Due to his solid professional training in the Netherlands and his extraordinary talent, he developed an interesting, very distinctive style – both in his realistic and abstract works – that is completely different from that of his European colleagues.

For him, his work is a game, as he used to say. He did not have to think or reason about what to put on the canvas or what his images should express. He was a spontaneous, quick, and playful worker. The fluidity and freedom with which he wielded his brush and his colors gave the very power to his work. He did not like to bind himself to rules or etiquette. Above all, he wanted to do what he felt, to be able to be himself without mask, without fears. He did not like giving analytical reflections on his work.

He participated in group exhibitions with Pablo Picasso, Henry Moore and Ossip Zadkine at Sonsbeek. In 1970 and in 1998, Erwin had solo exhibitions at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and a solo exhibition at the Kunsthal in Rotterdam in 2009. Erwin de Vries is also affectionately called the “Rembrandt of the Caribbean”. More than 30 of his sculptures can be seen across Amsterdam in public places, museum collections and public buildings. Many of his paintings and sculptures are in museums and private collections around the world.

Erwin’s view: ‘You have to do it yourself, work hard and go out there, don’t wait for others but take charge yourself.’

 

Awards Erwin has been honored to receive over his lifetime:

1989
Officier in de Orde van de Palm
Suriname

1995
Ridder in de Orde van Oranje-Nassau
Nederland

1997
Officier in de Orde van de Gele Ster
Suriname

1998
Stichting Moederhart Comité
n.v.t.

1999
Damsko Millennium Award voor Kunstenaar van
de 20ste eeuw
Amsterdam The Netherlands

2000
Caribbean Arts and Culture for Outstanding
Contribution Carifesta VII

2000
Stichting Toerisme Oorkonde Suriname
Suriname

2005
Commandeur Orde van de Gele Ster Suriname
Suriname

2005
Rotary Vocational Award Suriname
Suriname

2008
Goodwill Ambassador of Suriname
Suriname

2009
Un Bondru Kankantrie Award Suriname
Suriname

2009
Ereteken Burger van Verdiensten
Amsterdam

2010
Bijzondere Onderscheiding Godo Bank Suriname
Suriname

2010
Groot Lint
Suriname

Read more about Erwin on his website: Erwin de Vries | Art Gallery (erwindevriesart.gallery)

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