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Photo: Opening Mark Rothko exposition in National Gallery of Art

4 questions to art consultant Gijs van Kerkhoff

We asked Gijs van Kerkhoff art dealer and consultant at Van Kerkhoff Art, 4 questions about his design style. View his work here: www.vankerkhoff-art.com

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ByRenate GerschtanowitzAugust 2021

About Gijs

Gijs van Kerkhoff specializes in Mid Century Modern and Scandinavian Modern design. He likes to combine this with art from the same post-war period, with an emphasis on abstract art. As an independent Art Consultant, he helps navigate the sometimes opaque art market and offers advice on selecting and purchasing art.

What is your favorite style?

I find it almost impossible to name a single favorite style, but I do like to name a favorite period; namely the 50s and 60s of the twentieth century. These are the decades in which, in my view, the most highlights take place in abstract art and in modern design. From Scandinavian Design by Hans Wegner and Finn Juhl to Colorfield paintings by Mark Rothko, Art Informel by Maria Helena Viera da Silva and Serge Poliakoff to Mid Century Modern by Charles and Ray Eames and Georg Nakashima. And then, in my view, the glass art of the famous Finnish artists Tapio Wirkkala, Kaj Franck and Timo Sarpaneva should certainly not go unmentioned.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

For me personally, art and design really come to life when the stories behind them are told.
For example, some of Mark Rothko's most famous paintings hang the so-called Seagram Murals in London's Tate Modern while, as the name suggests, they were intended for the Four Season's restaurant in New York's Seagram Building. Rothko had received a commission in 1958 to paint some very large paintings for the restaurant for the then very princely sum of $35,000. But in 1959 after eating one meal at the prestigious restaurant, Rothko, who had grown up in abject poverty, decided to repay every cent of this commission and was determined that his paintings would never hang in the restaurant: “Anybody who will eat that kind of food for those kind of prices will never look at a painting of mine.” Due to Rothko's deep admiration for the work of British painter William Turner, he decided to donate the works to the Tate a few years later.
Another wonderful story is that of Hans Wegner's breakthrough in the United States. This happened because his famous “Round Chair” later known as “The Chair” played a key role in the televised election debate between John F Kennedy and Richard Nixon. Kennedy, who was in a lot of pain in his back, knew very well that in the live broadcast it was very important that he appeared energetic. One of Kennedy's demands was that he be allowed to choose the chair to be used during the debate and his choice was Wegner's chair. It is now known that ergonomics were extremely important in his designs, and Kennedy was by far the strongest of the two candidates in the debate. It was the beginning of Hans Wegner's success in the US and perhaps thanks to the Round Chair Kennedy won the election.

Photo: Mark Rothko, Seagram Mural, Section 6 (Untitled), Pace Gallery
Photo: John F Kennedy zittend op “The Chair” van Hans Wegner

What are your ultimate design icons?

The Flaglinen Stol by Hans Wegner, The Artichok lamp by Poul Henningsen, The Kantharel by Tapio Wirkkala, the Chieftain armchair by Finn Juhl and the Prisma Vases by Kaj Franck.

Photo: Artichok-lamp van Poul Henningsen,

Photo: Whoppah Kaj Franck Two glass art Objects

What is your favorite item in Whoppah?

My ultimate favorites on Whoppah at the moment are the Max Sauze orion ceiling light and the
Kaj Franck Two glass art Objects.

Max Sauze orion ceiling light now available on Whoppah. You can bid from €1,950.
The Kaj Franck Two glass art Objects offer from €1,889.
Place your bid quickly!