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Dora Tuynman

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Montpellier, 1926 – Deventer, 1979

Dora Tuynman left for Paris in 1951 and participated fully in the life at Rue Santeuil, where Appel, Corneille and other Cobra artists also had their studios.

Dora Tuynman left for Paris in 1951 after she had been rejected by the Rijksacademie in Amsterdam. In Paris, she participated fully in the life at Rue Santeuil, where Appel, Corneille and other Cobra artists also had their studios. She abandoned her understated style and in stead made colourful, abstract works with exuberant use of paint. This development culminated in the 1960s in powerful abstract expressionist works.

Although Tuynman’s paintings, like those of Cobra members, were described as experimental, she was not a member of the group. And also later, this was never up for discussion. In reviews, her work was often appraised by comparing it (unfavourably) with that of Appel and Corneille. Tuynman was not readily given recognition for her work. Often, too, her appearance and personality were emphasised. Usually in the form of a repetition of a statement by a contemporary who called her a “fairy with something other-worldly about her […] who as a painter one was not immediately inclined to take seriously.”

 

Nevertheless, Tuynman’s work did receive acclaim. For example, she received a letter of recommendation for a scholarship from the famous French artist Fernand Léger, while he stressed that she actually no longer needed any training. In the course of the 1950s and 1960s, Tuynman had several exhibitions in the Netherlands, Paris and New York. Gallery owner Iris Clert selected her work for the opening exhibition of her gallery, which soon became a ‘hotspot’ of the Parisian avant-garde. Despite the predominantly positive reactions that Tuynman’s work did receive since the 1950s, it sold poorly. In 1962 she returned to the Netherlands.

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