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Kunstmuseum Bonn is Exhibiting Paintings from 1964-2007 by Raoul De Keyser
Raoul De Keyser, Seventh Linen Box, 1971. Acrylic and dispersion paint on canvas on wooden. frame, 115 x 150 x 25 cm. Private collection.

BONN.- Kunstmuseum Bonn is an institute that - along with its focus on postwar German art - is above all devoted to the different media of artistic design, and especially to painting. Thus its collection includes work complexes by Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter and Blinky Palermo, who form the background for an engagement with international positions of painting.

One of the most important European painters of the past decades has surely been Raoul De Keyser, born 1930 in Deinze, Belgium. Yet although his work, from the 1980s on, has had an international resonance, what has been sadly wanting is a large retrospective exhibition in Germany whose theme would be the many facetted evolution of his oeuvre. The exhibition at the Kunstmuseum Bonn hopes now to make up for this lack with almost 50 exhibition items that span the artist’s 40 productive years.

The exhibit begins with works from the 1960s, in which Raoul De Keyser was involved in identifying a place for his art. In a search for motifs, the autodidact devoted himself to the themes of his immediate vicinity: the window openers on his new house, the garden hose, the bicycle in his garden and the chalk lines on the football field in his front yard. Stylistically, he positioned himself along the lines of his fellow Belgian, Roger Raveel, and of Pop Art, very much present at that time. But already his early works show the high degree of reflection on his art, which takes into consideration questions of painting, the relationship between the picture of reality and the constitution of his own pictorial reality. Almost inevitably, this orientation in the 1970s and 80s led Raoul De Keyser to geometric forms of expression, then to the monochrome, followed in the late 80s and 90s by a manifestly open expression of painting.

Thus his work pursues a completely undogmatic study of the field of painting, which he carried on with studied nonchalance. Raoul De Keyser is a skilled master, whose work is not concentrated on the cultivation of one painting style but explores the many-facetted expressive potentials of painting. This feature is what also constitutes the richness of the exhibition in Bonn, i.e., the loans assembled from Europe and America and from the collections of museums and private persons, all demonstrating the ability and productivity of a genre that was once the leading medium of Modernism.

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