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Armand Bouten

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Armand Bouten

*  1893 Venlo
† 1965 Amsterdam


Armand Bouten, avant-garde representative of Dutch Expressionism, has only recently been rediscovered. He was born in Venlo in 1893. He received his education in Amsterdam as of 1912. The young Bouten taught the art of drawing at the Rijks Normaalschool voor Tekenonderwijs. He made his first works in the style of expressive Cubism which show mostly rural themes such as Dutch farmworkers.
At the Rijks Normaalschool voor Tekenonderwijs Armand Bouten met the young Hanny Korevaar, with whom he traveled the Balkan as early as in 1918 and who he married in 1922. Restless travelling years followed: Both artists lived in different places without ever settling down. After visits to Paris, where Armand Bouten met Marc Chagall, Budapest as well as sojourns in Marseille and Berlin, the couple lived in Brussels as of the mid 1930s. Armand Bouten and his wife Hanny also stayed in The Hague and Amsterdam from time to time.
Works by Armand Bouten, regardless whether paintings or works on paper, reflect the experience gathered during the travelling years. Especially the time he spent in Paris was decisive and opened up a world of an entirely new complex of themes: All in line with contemporary taste, the Dutchman depicted brothel-, coffee house or carnival scenes. His colors, framed by strong contours, are lurid and the faces seem like masks – innovations of Primitivism also left their traces. Works from the days of World War II resonance a rather existentialist tone, the colors get darker.
During their travelling years Armand Bouten and Hanny Korevaar have a hard time making ends meet. When they eventually settled in Amsterdam in 1953, they were in complete financial dire straits. In his late period of creation Armand Bouten continues his art from the days before the war, however, still without success.
The importance of Bouten's art has only been recognized as of the 1980s. In 2008/09 the Museum Groningen showed a retrospective that was accompanied by an exhibition of his works on paper from the local Anderwereld Galerie. Armand Bouten did not live to witness this triumph - he died in Amsterdam in 1965.