Pieter Jan Knorr

ID Photo: Martin Wengelaar

You enter Knorr's studio very carefully, in order not to bump into anything. You stand in a tiny little room with no artificial light, only 2 windows from which a mysterious light flows over everything. The cool Groningen light of the Westerkwartier which traditionally can be pretty bleak. It is the light that we see in all his paintings.

It's cold, there's no stove; a dusky space with easels, tables and panels. Still lifes; it cannot be otherwise. Nature morte. Carcasses of rabbits, of a badger, a fox, a goat, a peacock. In the freezer is a foal, which has already been immortalized. Because Knorr sees the painting of things and dead animals as his personal battle against the impermanence of everything. His world of pots of withered flowers and leaves is reminiscent of Jan Mankes....

The still lifes are set down in browns, whites and grays. A limited palette that creates atmosphere and tranquility. Because Knorr uses a strong sfumato, an ancient technique to soften contours, it seems that the dead animals in his pictures are slowly evaporating. As if they are turning to dust that is lovingly absorbed into the atmosphere.

The soft pelts and tails, dead eyes, the senselessness are still there, Peter Knorr paints them until only the slowly deteriorating shell remains. Death as a remedy for the terrible eternity.

Music plays day and night in his studio. Knorr needs music to paint. Music like a second skin of sound that excludes everything else and warms the artist's soul. The string quartets of Shostakovich, which sometimes are about death. And Arvo Pärt, that deals with spirituality, rebellion and resignation.

As we view his paintings, it seems that Knorr has immortalized also the music in oil. As if Pärt and Shostakovich show through the pigments and their sound makes the kid, the hare and the fox softly vibrate. As if they are still a little alive.... By Eric Bos (http://www.visualia.nl/2012/04/910-nature-morte/) (edited transl.)
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First Collected by

Suzan Hamer


Collectors 6

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