Jacoba van Heemskerck was a Dutch avant-garde painter graphic designer, and stained glass artist. During her short life Van Heemskerck contributed substantially to the development of modern art in the early 20th century. Back in The Hague after a formative period in Paris, where she trained under symbolist painter Eugène Carrière, she became affiliated with Piet Mondrian. Heemskerck as well as Mondrian were inspired by the anthroposophical teachings on color and form by Rudolf Steiner in the 1910s. While both artists sought to express spiritual experience through their work, Mondrian’s style became extensively geometrical over time, whereas Heemskerck developed an open, unconstrained and intuitive style of abstract symbolism. Her approach was received enthusiastically especially in German Expressionist circles and was shown at Galerie Der Sturm in Berlin.In the design of stained glass windows she later found the ideal medium to accomplish her long-pursued quest: to link the essence of color to light. In this medium belonging to the applied arts, the dark jagged lines that are characteristic for her landscape paintings became in a natural way perfectly functional as the leaden seams holding the glass together.
Her work is in the archives ofMuseum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam; the Archives of the United Workshops for Mosaic and Stained Glass Puhl & Wagner, Gottfried Heinersdorff; MoMa New York.
Ada van Hoorebeke
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