Done! Straight in the shop with it. (…) A hundred and fifty guilders.’ In his yard, at the home he built with his own hands, among his five wives, a man wearing white make-up frantically commits an image of a dancer to paper in about three minutes, as the cameras of a Dutch television sketch show look on. This is how the Dutch remember Anton Heyboer (Sabang, Indonesia, 1924 – Den Ilp, 2005).
What most people do not know is that in the 1960s and 70s Heyboer was a celebrated artist whose work was purchased by the MoMA in New York, shown at Documenta in Kassel and was the subject of major exhibitions at Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. In 1975 he was even presented at LACMA in Los Angeles as one of the most important European artists of the time, alongside David Hockney and Lucian Freud. Forty years after his last major museum exhibition the Gemeentemuseum is keen to shine the spotlight on the international quality of Heyboer’s work once more. The exhibition will show how his work developed, focusing on the period 1956-1977, but it will also look at the ‘system’ Heyboer used to make life bearable for himself, revealing how his life and work were inextricably linked.