Transfer at the port (2017) Dolf Henkes

Aad Hoogendoorn
About the artwork

This painting shows the throughput in the harbor, a panorama with activity. The performance is characteristic of Henkes, the painting former engineer, and Katendrecht. It recalls how Katendrecht was an active city port with an international reach. It was installed in 2017 by Atelier Leo Mineur, because the block of houses on which the previous work in 1990 was put on has been demolished. The list was also lost when the building was demolished. But an ornament frame has been added to the new building, resulting in a new version of the painting Transfer at the port could be painted. The original painting is an enlarged section of the smaller painting Port from 1964 made by artist Dolf Henkes. It was installed in 1990, one year after Henkes' death. The news ended up at the time The Free People with the somewhat dubious newspaper headline "Katendrecht happy with Henkes painting" - as if they were not happy with it at first, but it wasn't like that. Residents were not happy with another work of art that was planned: a sculpture by Kees Buckens. Housing association Onze Woning offered five works of art to Katendrecht at the time, one of which was a large, somewhat cubist image of Kees Buckens, a headless woman. A nice one statue, which was very welcome, until a week before the opening. Then a newspaper report appeared in which a culture official explained the artwork as a homage to the oldest profession in the world. The Kapenezen reacted angrily. That was the image that they wanted to leave, and they also rejected the image. If it were to come, it would be "stuck in the Maas". The sculptor - who had nothing to do with the pronunciation - reacted in anger "By a photo caption!". He called it "deep fuck," because he had just made an image and "an image is not a whore." To compensate, it was quickly decided to paint this, a homage to Henkes. That Henkes had actually painted whores, nobody was talking about. The statue of Buckens came to stand a pier further in Charlois, where it is still beautiful to see from the SS Rotterdam and therefore from the tip of Katendrecht. In the summer of 2017 this work and eight other ornament frames, including restored and new artworks in the Katendrecht district of Rotterdam, were delivered. They have been realized in the project Cape color, a collaboration between Verhalenhuis Belvédère and BKOR.

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About the artist

From childhood, Dolf Henkes drew and painted (Rotterdam, 1903 - Rotterdam, 1989). He grew up in the port area of ​​Katendrecht and sailed from 1926 to 1928. After that, the art attracted more and more. He received his first exhibition in London at 1929, three years later he took the step to establish himself as an artist. From 1935 to 1937, he lived in Paris, the epicenter of art. But when the war started, he returned to Katendrecht - almost forever. In 1940 he moved into a house on Veerlaan 92a with his family. The war "awakened him to color," he later says, and he continued to paint color, with strange overflowing hues. His work has an expressive, 'loose' style in an unmistakable handwriting and sometimes remarkable techniques. In 1944 he drew the ravages of the war in Rotterdam. After the war he continues to travel and his fame grows. Not only as an artist, but also because of his quarrel with the underworld, he made the newspapers. Because in 1956 a brothel opened next to his house on the Veerlaan, where he then lives with his brother and two sisters. After a stab incident, in which Dolf stabbed an attacker from his brother, he received a suspended prison sentence of four months and was not allowed to come to Katendrecht for two years. He would then continue to live in Katendrecht until his death, where he had lost his heart. You can see that in his paintings: a lot of Rotterdam, the river, harbor, boats in the fog. But also portraits, human figures, clowns, still lifes, sometimes a religious theme. He practiced a very own graphic and realistic style of hard lines and lyrical colors. Together with Wally Elenbaas and Daan van Golden, Henkes was one of the best-known Cape painters. When he was 85, he died in the house on the Veerlaan with his beloved view over the Maas. Nowadays, the Dolf Henkes Prize is awarded every two years in its name to a quirky artist.

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Timorstraat 3, 3072 ZT Rotterdam, Netherlands


Two boys from Katendrecht