Personal history

I was educated as an architect and planner at the Eindhoven Technical University. During my study I was influenced by the architecture of Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn – both seeking new ways of organising space and construction as well as space and light. I also discovered that architecture and art are very much related which became clear to me in the transparency studies of Rowe and Slutzky.
In these studies emphasis was laid on the relation between the approach of space in the paintings of Cézanne and Braque and the designs of the houses by Le Corbusier.

In my later work as an urban planner I worked out this idea of transparency in an application of organising the urban space in three dimensions. This resulted in various publications and proposals for a multi layered town and infrastructure development in amongst others in Delft railway area and the Waal riverfront in Arnhem.

At the end of the seventies of the last century I started painting at the Psychopolis Art Academy in The Hague. During this period I created abstractions and still lives inspired by the search for composition. Discussions in the atelier with Wil Bouthoorn, my teacher at that time, opened up new horizons. I explored stage settings in the atelier and perhaps this is when my fascination with De Staël began.


Wim Snelders

Composition in Red, Wim Snelders, oil on paper, 74x70cm, 1980

Composition in Red, oil on paper, 74x70cm, 1980

Abstract I,Wim Snelders, oil on paper 75x50cm, 1980

Abstract I, oil on paper 75x50cm, 1980

Curacao Conscientessteeg, Wim Snelders, 61x51cm, 1987

Curacao Conscientessteeg, 61x51cm, 1987, private collection

Curaçao Bajonetstraat, Wim Snelders, 61x51cm, 1987

Curacao Bajonetstraat, oil on canvas, 61x51cm, 1987, private collection

Curacao Van Dijksteeg, Wim Snelders, 61x51cm, 1987

Curacao Van Dijksteeg, 51x61cm, 1987, private collection

In the early eighties I lived in The Netherlands Antilles where I worked on new series of paintings inspired by the Caribbean light and the tropical coloursettings. Due to the nature of my job: the rehabilitation of Willemstad’s historic inner city on Curaçao, I became very familiar with the structures and atmosphere of the island. Together with Verele Engels, directors of the Curaçao Museum, and Boeli van Leeuwen, author, I had talks about my work, the relation to architecture and my search for expressing the essential aspects in my paintings. It was an upbeat for my exposition in the Curaçao Museum in 1984 and some other expositions on the island.

It was also during this stay that the Antillean expressionist writer Boeli van Leeuwen frequently visited our house. He was impressed by my paintings and chose to use my painting Drydock, 1984, as a bookcover for his book ‘Schilden van Leem’.

Curaçao Dry Dock, Wim Snelders, oil on paper, 40x52cm, 1985

Curacao Dry Dock, Book cover Schilden van Leem by Boeli van Leeuwen, oil on paper, 40x52cm, 1985

Curaçao Kenepa III, Wim Snelders, 20x30cm, 1984

Curacao Kenepa III, 20x30cm, 1984, private collection

Curaçao San Pedro V, Wim Snelders, 91x91cm, 1984

Curacao San Pedro V, Wim Snelders, 91x91cm, 1984, private collection

By the end of the eighties I moved to Indonesia where I made proposals for integrated urban infrastructure planning in medium sized cities on Java and Bali. I experienced a different and natural colour spectrum of the landscape resulting from the reflection of the light in the paddy fields. This brought me to a series of sawa and paddy field paintings.

It wasn’t till 2002 when I put together a new series of paintings which were produced in Pietrasanta, near Carrara in Italy, the city where many famous sculptors have originated from. I made typical townscapes of Lucca and Sienna and it was at that time that I started working with a brush again instead of applying the paint with a palette knife. Also during this period I introduced figures in my paintings to express, in these townscapes, the sense and scale of urban space.

Siena, 50x60cm, 2001

Siena, acrylic on canvas 50x60cm, 2001

Lucca I, 50x60cm, 2001

Lucca I, acrylic on canvas 50x60cm, 2001

This series of enclosed Tuscan townscapes was followed by landscapes on a much larger scale and in a totally different colour palette. I produced these at the Summer Academy, Salzburg, which was run amongst others by Jacobo Borges. At the academy I worked out my sketches of a visit to Spain’s “fryingpan”, Murcia, and the wooded areas with enclosures of grass-lands and farms around the castle of Salzburg where my atelier was set up. The Spanish landscapes originate from photographs taken from the high speed train and given the idea of a flight over olive groves and sandy pale coloured fields.

Arenys de Munt 3 90x85-crop

Arenys de Munt 3, 85x90cm, 2001

Wiese 4 90x85-crop-edit

Salzburg Hallein IV, acrylic on canvas, 85x90cm, 2003

Arenys de Munt 4 90x85-crop

Arenys de Munt 4, 85x90cm, 2001

verborgen huis 1 90x85-crop-edit

Salzburg Hallein II, acrylic on canvas, 85x90cm, 2003

During the last ten years I have been experimenting with other subjects such as portraits, models and still lives and using other techniques such as collages, watercolours and pen. This has widened my scope, thus resulting in a broader oeuvre.


Recently this has resulted in exhibitions at CircleComtemporary, Hawksfield, Cornwall and the forthcoming exhibition at Podium Mozaïek, Amsterdam.


Wim Snelders