Multatuli (1974) Mathieu Ficheroux

Otto Snoek
About the artwork

While writing the book 'Max Havelaar' Multatuli often in Rotterdam. He then stayed for a longer time at Hotel Weimar. He wrote in the NRC Handelsblad that anyone interested could meet him there to get an insight into 'the Havelaar case'. The only one who came to see him there was someone who still had a lot of money from him. Multatuli left Rotterdam disappointed. In the early 1970s, artists, including the artist Mathieu Ficheroux, wanted to reduce the separation between art and the public. They wanted attention for the role of art in public life and art for a wide audience. The Rotterdam Art Foundation started implementing targeted policy on this and started the 'Townpainting' project. The portrait of Multatuli with the text 'Seen from the moon we are all the same size' made by Ficheroux is a striking example of this. The work hung from 1974 in the Mauritsstraat opposite poetry shop Woutertje Pieterse (a character of Multatuli). After the demolition of this building, it moved in 1985 to its current location on Van Oldenbarneveltstraat. In 1998 it was decided to completely renew the work affected by the weather. When the painting was removed for this, great commotion arose. Such an image could not simply be removed. The relocation was therefore celebrated exuberantly.

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About the artist

Mathieu Ficheroux (Rotterdam, 1926 - 2003) studied at the Academy of Visual Arts in Rotterdam. In 1969 he was awarded the Rotterdam Hendrik Chabot Prize. In the 1960s, eroticism and alienation formed a thematic undertone in Ficheroux 'pink and brown paintings, his plastic objects and his light reliefs (sleeping pieces). In the 1970s he depicted the transience in frames and damaged paintings. Since the 1980s, Ficheroux has again concentrated primarily on painting and drawing.

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