Ans Wortel

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Ans Wortel
Born Anna Maria Wortel
(1929-10-18)18 October 1929
Alkmaar, Netherlands
Died 4 December 1996(1996-12-04) (aged 67)
Hilvarenbeek, Netherlands
Nationality Dutch
Known for Painting, drawing, printmaking, poetry, writing, sculpting, glass art
Awards First prize at the biennale of Paris in 1963

Ans (Anna Maria) Wortel (18 October 1929, in Alkmaar, Netherlands – 4 December 1996, in Hilvarenbeek, Netherlands) was a Dutch painter, poet and writer.[1] She made gouaches and oil paintings, aquarelles, drawings, collages, lithographs, etchings, sculptures and glass sculptures. She was an autodidact and has won the first prize at the biennale of Paris in 1963. She was one of the leading female artists of postwar Dutch modern art.[2]

Work and style[edit]

Wortel’s work is strongly autobiographical. Her experiences as a girl, woman, mother and as an artist were mainly the source of her inspiration. Common themes are human emotions, love, relationships, mother/child relations and social criticism.

Up until the late 1950s there was a search for a personal style. Artwork from that time varies and shows characteristics of different artists, such as Katsushika Hokusai, Willem de Kooning, Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, Wifredo Lam and Karel Appel. In the late 1950s her artistic style eventually flows into her very own style which is best described as abstract figurative art. It often consists of naked woman, man or child figures, sometimes recognizable, but always deformed. These human figures are together, search each other, embrace each other or repel each other. The figures are in unspecified spaces. The moon, the sun and the contours of earth often recur in her work. Mostly her work is accompanied by handwritten poetical lines.

Selected exhibitions[edit]

Wortel has had numerous exhibitions in the Netherlands and abroad,[3] amongst others:

There were also expositions and contributions of Wortel at various events, such as (selection):

  • 1969 Design of costums and stage set for "Laat dat" (in English "Drop it"), performed by the Scapino Ballet in the City Theatre in Amsterdam, Netherlands.[6]
  • 1970 Simca show Alkmaar, Alkmaar, Netherlands.
  • 1975 International Women's Year, First Women's International Art Exhibit. (Wortel represented the Netherlands)
  • 1976 Artfestival 1976 Belgium/Netherlands.
  • 1977 Institut Néerlandais, 20e année (20 years jubilee), Paris, France.
  • 1983 The national Bookfestival, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
  • 1991 Cultural festival Altea, Spain
  • 1993 Gallery TNO, Netherlands. (Wortel made also a big 3x8 metres glass artwork for the TNO building).
  • 1993 National Womensday at the town hall of Loon op Zand, Netherlands.
  • 1994 National Womensday at the Delft University of Technology, Netherlands.

Selected literature[edit]

There are some 50 books and booklets with contributions from or about Wortel.

She wrote several Dutch collections of poetry in which her visual art and her poetry come together.[7] [8]

  • Poetry book, untitled (1959, handmade limited edition)[9]
  • "Preken en prenten", in English: "Preaches and prints" (1969, Tor, ISBN 90-70055-05-8)
  • "Voor ons de reizende vlezen rots...", in English: "To us the traveling rock made of flesh..." (1970, De Bezige Bij, ISBN 90-234-5114-7)
  • "Voor die ziet met mijn soort ogen, door wiens ogen ik kan zien", in English: "For who sees with my kind of eye’s, by whose eye’s I'll see" (1970, handmade limited edition)[10]
  • "Wat ik vond en verloor", in English: "What I've found and lost" (1972, Tor, ISBN 90-70055-14-7)
  • "Lessen aan die ik liefheb", in English: "Lessons to those I love" (1973, Tor, ISBN 90-70055-15-5)
  • "Gedichten 1959-1963", in English: "Poems 1959-1963" (1989, Ans Wortel, De Fontijn, ISBN 90-261-0334-4)

In 1980 she started her autobiography which was finilized in 1986 (5 volumes in Dutch).

  • "Een mens van onze soort", in English: "One of our kind" (1982, De Fontijn, ISBN 90-261-2121-0)
  • "In de bloei van 't leven, noemen ze dat", in English: "In the prime of life, they call it" (1983, De Fontijn, ISBN 90-261-2139-3)
  • "Noem mij maar Jon", in English: "Just call me Jon" (1983, De Fontijn, ISBN 90-261-2157-1)
  • "Onderweg in Amsterdam", in English: "On the road in Amsterdam" (1984, De Fontijn, ISBN 90-261-0178-3)
  • "Nannetje...", in English: "Nannetje..." (1986, De Fontijn, ISBN 90-261-0250-X)


External links[edit]