A promising young artist who lives and works in Rotterdam. His first major retrospective was held at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam in 2002. Zandvliet (b. 1970) is a ‘true painter’, who finds inspiration in painting and the countryside. His art is about space, light and the tranquillity found in 17th-century Dutch paintings. Referring to his early work, the De Pont Gallery website notes that ‘observation is the key factor in Robert Zandvliet’s oeuvre.
His paintings focus on a single object, frozen in time – a car mirror, an aeroplane window, a television screen, a camera lens – commonplace motifs that are generally associated with the act of observing or of making things visible. Zandvliet follows in the Dutch painting tradition, which Svetlana Alpers characterised as “the eye that measures and weighs”’.
His more recent paintings often features landscapes or landscape elements, but his representations are no longer realistic and the horizons are gone. Zandvliet achieves an expansiveness reminiscent of Willem de Kooning through his treatment of colour, form and counterform.
Zandvliet believes that the light in Holland has remained unchanged. Returning from trips abroad, he becomes aware of it on landing at Schiphol and in the train on his way back to Rotterdam. It’s different from Italy, for instance, where the sharp, dry light produces far starker outlines. ‘The colours in Holland are lush,’ he says. And as far as art is concerned, ‘clouds painted by Van Goyen or Weissenbruch are totally different from clouds by, say, Piero della Francesca. His look like plain white cut-out clouds, whereas Van Goyen’s or Weissenbruch’s are transparent and creamy.’