Dec 9, 2013
09:26 AMArts & Entertainment
The World According to Greenwich Artist Kees de Waal, 90, in Norwalk Exhibit
At 90, Greenwich artist Kees de Waal is still contemplating the mysteries of life, but rather than write his observations on paper, he paints them in bold colors on canvas. The prolific artist works daily and creates about 100 new works a year, dividing his time between studios in Greenwich, Naarden, Netherlands and La Turballe, France.
An artist since his boyhood in the Netherlands, de Waal didn’t begin to focus on painting full-time until 1986, when he retired from the fashion industry. He founded the Dutch menswear chain HIJ, which once had 150 stores in the Netherlands, Switzerland and Belgium. In 1985 he handed the business over to his son and dedicated himself to philanthropic work, primarily to help children born with birth defects in Latin America, and to art.
The man who thinks globally produces dreamlike pieces with an intercontinental/Latin American influence. He uses fanciful birds, fish and other animals as symbolic representations of the human condition, and often adds an element of collage to his compositions, which can be cheerful or cynical depending on the message. “My painting is storytelling,” he says. “I’m not interested in aesthetics.”
But de Waal has his eye on the clock these days. He says, “I have more ideas than time.” He shared share some of those ideas at the Center for Contemporary Printmaking in Norwalk Dec. 8 during the opening of Time Flies: Kees de Waal. His paintingsprints, etchings and mixed media will be on view through . Admission is free.