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Wobbe Hendrik Alkema


Alkema Wobbe (Hendrik)

(b Borger, 11 Feb 1900; d Drachten, 30 Jan 1984). Dutch painter and printmaker. He trained between 1919 and 1923 as a cabinetmaker, taking evening classes in furniture drawing and design at the Academie Minerva in Groningen. He also took private drawing lessons with the Dutch sculptor Willem Valk (18981977). Around 1920 he started to make drawings and paintings in an abstracted, geometric style, similar to that of Bart van der Leck (e.g. En passant, 192127). From 1924 he worked in the architectural firm of Van Lingen in Groningen, and he continued to design furniture until the 1930s. He joined De Ploeg and started to mix with Dutch artists such as Jan Wiegers, Jan Altink (18851971) and Hendrik Nicolaas Werkman. He produced geometric abstract works such as Composition with Yellow Circles (1924; Groningen, Groninger Mus.). From c. 1924 he began to associate with the Belgian Constructivists involved in the magazine Het Overzicht and later De Driehoek, including Jozef Peeters and Paul van Ostaijen (18961928). In 1926 some of his prints were published in the magazines The Next Call and De Driehoek. During this period his style was a form of geometric abstraction, and his prints of the 1930s show the influence of Kandinsky (e.g. With Trapezium, 1931). In addition to paintings and drawings he also produced watercolours, woodcuts and linocuts and worked on the restoration of medieval churches. After a visit to Germany in 1935 Alkema felt unable to continue painting until 1947, but when he resumed he adopted some surrealist elements (e.g. Four Sounds, 19501); in the late 1950s he returned to geometric compositions determined by grids, as in Composition 19 (1959). He continued to experiment with graphic and printmaking techniques, combining them with delicate photographs of plants and insects for his series 149 Slides


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