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Sees Flag Zienagoog screen printing 1989 Edition 200 number 138 Dimensions work 55/40 cm Dimensions Frame 75/60 cm mint condition Sees Vlag (Gouda, July 15, 1934 – The Hague, January 1, 2018) was a Dutch artist, graphic artist and painter. Flag was best known for his architectural linocuts and serigraphs in pastel shades. One of his most famous works was: 's-Gravenhage - Daily Green Market (1984) consisting of 84 print runs. Flag has mainly incorporated cityscapes and industrial monuments from The Hague in his oeuvre, but has also worked for UNICEF and the NS, among others. From 1954 to 1959 he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in The Hague. Flag was a prominent member of the Pulchri Studio artists' association during his active years. He passed away on January 1, 2018 from a heart attack. Sees Flag turned 83 years old The artist Sees Flag Graphic artist The Hague (1934-2018) Sees Vlag was born in 1934 as the youngest of eight children in Gouda, where his father owned a tailor's shop. In 1946 the parents settled in The Hague with their youngest son and his two twin sisters. He passed away on January 1, 2018. From 1952 to 1954, Sees attended the evening painting course at the Royal Academy of Art (K.A.B.K.) there. The summer months of 1954 pass with a short stay in military service, during which time he holds his first exhibition in the men's canteen. Paintings of cemeteries and gravestones in sombre tones and with a lot of black. After this delay, he concludes his studies at the 'Tekenakademie', as the K.A.B.K. mentioned in the walk, to continue. During the next five years he takes the day course, again painting. During his studies and for a few years after graduating, he lives in Rijswijk and Scheveningen. He will soon say goodbye to painting after graduating to focus on making linocuts. As a graphic artist he is therefore self-taught. In 1961 he makes his first print: an image of a cactus in black and white. His first real exhibition in the Hague Art Circle followed in 1962. This exhibition will be followed by hundreds of exhibitions in various museums, galleries, government offices and many other places. In 1963 the first color relief prints were created, which still show the image of the traditional linocut. But these soon make way for prints with a rich variety of beautiful, often warm colours, which form an entirely new type of linocut. Sees Vlag's early work includes beautiful still lifes with crustaceans and shellfish, plants, furniture and other objects such as masks and playing cards. The last of these still lifes includes "Clothes + shell + photo and vase" from 1966. On a Brabantsbonte handkerchief is a photo of a nuclear bomb explosion between a shell and a green glass vase. It is the time when Western Europe will begin to reap the benefits of post-war efforts, but also the time of the constant threat of catastrophic nuclear war. It is also a time when the social position of science and its practitioners is urgently addressed. In science itself, but also in literature, theater and the visual arts. In a later novel that refers to this period, Alberto Moravia has the protagonist take a Polaroid photo of the dome of St. Peter's Church in Rome when a cloud takes the shape of a mushroom above it. An apocalyptic image. The symbolism of the print by Sees Vlag comes close to a depiction of the reality of that time. Despite the permanent threat of nuclear disaster, everyday life continues. In other words, the threat becomes part of it, which almost everyone prefers to turn a blind eye to. It is this aspect that makes the image of Sees Vlag more oppressive than the Polaroid photo of the cloud over St. Peter's. It is possible that the then Minister of Foreign Affairs, mr. J.M.A.H. Luns sensed this intuitively when he had the print, which had been hung in the lobby of his ministry, removed immediately after seeing it. At the end of the sixties, Sees Vlag shifted his attention to architectural subjects and landscapes. "Apartment Building", a still life from 1967, marks this transition from the interior to the exterior. Both appear in the picture. We look through a window in the room of a modern apartment building onto another modern apartment building. On the windowsill are two conically shaped shells next to a decorated vase. Sees Vlag himself says about this situation in an interview: "The print shows different constructions, namely man-made work and nature's work. This vase was created through the work of people, up to and including the decoration on it. The apartment building is just as much the result of thinking and doing. There are houses in the building. In it you see the similarity with the shells. These are also houses, but they are formed by nature. The relationship between the shells and the vase is the decoration on both objects. The ones on the first one just happened, they're random. The decoration on the vase, on the other hand, is man-made, so brain and manual work." This statement is typical of the way Sees Vlag approaches the object he chooses. He does not limit himself to mere depictions, but immerses himself intensively in the essence, the backgrounds, connections and history of his subject. This sometimes gives the work an almost contemplative character. But he never expressly conveys a message; the images must speak for themselves. After "Apartment Building", as mentioned, the focus shifts to architecture and landscapes. In addition, special attention is paid to trees and shrubs in the urban environment and beyond. He will make prints of buildings in The Hague, Scheveningen and other places and of objects in the countryside, such as farms, mills and a steam pumping station. Exchanging the bike for a Deux-Chevaux extends the range to France, Italy and Spain. This is how the French Castles series and the holiday photos are created. At the end of the sixties and in the course of the seventies, Sees Vlag built up an impressive oeuvre. The Hague prints deserve special attention. He makes a number of prints in these years of Scheveningen, which belongs to The Hague, that remarkable combination of strictly Reformed, industrious fishing village and seaside resort full of worldly entertainment, where he lived during his academy days. A desolate pier surmounted by a leaden gray blanket of clouds; the 10-sided iron lighthouse above the seawall of basalt blocks; the white Hotel des Galeries, which by then no longer accommodates guests. Faded glory. He deliberately pushed dark clouds over it: the building will be demolished shortly afterwards. It's not the only building that will disappear. The period, which begins with the transition from the sixties to the seventies, is that of an increase in scale in economic and social life. This development is also expressed in construction. Construction is taking place on an ever larger scale and higher and higher. The project developer is introduced, and sometimes entire city districts - such as the Bezuidenhout in The Hague - are demolished. Many beautiful buildings, such as the Moorish-style pavilion of the former The Hague Zoo, will be lost. The dismantling of this building with its rich history of concerts, balls, exhibitions and numerous manifestations is also recorded in printing ink. Buildings, which up to that time had been considered large and survive temporarily or permanently, shrivel, as it were, against the background of the enormous new facades. This is clearly reflected in prints such as "Charlotte de Bourbonplein" (1969), "Oud - Nieuw Bezuidenhout" (1969) and "The Hague Today" (1973). The changes outlined were not without a struggle. The second half of the sixties and the first half of the seventies have a tumultuous character. Numerous protest movements are making themselves heard. Their writing on the wall is also registered. On the wall, which is depicted on "Oud - Nieuw Bezuidenhout" is written 'Vietnam is murder'. But 'The Croys' have also left their mark. An expression of protest against the war in Vietnam alongside a primitive search for one's own identity, demarcating a territory. Sees Vlag follows developments where they occur and registers them. That is why his prints from that period have historical significance as well as artistic. He not only contributes to the history of 'his' city, but also that of an era. At the end of the sixties, a few trips are also made. A large wall painting with animals in a school on the Zusterstraat and glass appliqués in a school on the Van Ostadestraat (1967) and the Abtswoude retirement center in Delft (1969). From 1970 he also started making serigraphs, mainly in black and white, but occasionally also in colour. In contrast to the linocuts, he limits himself to making the drawing, and the actual screen printing is carried out by a company specialized in this. This approach and the larger print run that is possible with this technique results in a work of art that is accessible to a wider public in comparison with the very labour-intensive and limited edition of linocut. In 1974, a print he made of the Peace Palace was featured on a UNICEF greeting card and distributed around the world. The greeting cards of the Friends of The Hague Association with images of his Hague prints, which were published from the mid-seventies, have of course a more limited distribution area. In 1976, Gouda, the city of his birth, honored Sees Vlag with a major retrospective in the Stedelijk Museum 'Het Catharina Gasthuis'. An interesting exhibition showing the work from 1961 to 1976. Large screen prints of black and white drawings of Dutch landscapes, commissioned by the Dutch Railways, will be applied to the new intercity trains that will run from January 1, 1977. The Dutch Landscape races through the Dutch landscape. In the second half of the seventies and the following eighties, the aesthetic element, which, incidentally, has characterized his work from the very beginning, is increasingly emphasized. The subjects remain the same: cityscapes and landscapes, with trees and shrubs occupying a special place. The cityscapes are now limited to The Hague. A fine example of this is "'s-Gravenhage - Nassauplein" from 1981. All elements that typify his work from the beginning are present: a beautiful facade wall, a beautiful 'red' horse chestnut in bloom, TV antennas on the roofs and a traffic sign. As far as the landscapes are concerned, the range is again and now significantly expanded. In addition to other European countries, other continents are now also being discussed: Africa, Asia and South America. This yields beautiful images of the Nile, an Indonesian sawah and the ruins of the fortified city of Mucho Picchu of the Incas in Peru. Sees Vlag's work is figurative. An image is made of something that actually exists. Which is not the same as a true-to-life rendering, although that impression is created upon first observation. A first difference with reality is the lack of the third dimension. The objects depicted in the still lifes, such as shells and vases, are flat. In the buildings the perspective suggestive of space, in which horizontal lines approach each other in one vanishing point, has been replaced by the isometric perspective, also called skewed projection or carpenter's perspective, in which the horizontal lines run parallel. The omission of shadows further enhances the two-dimensionality. The fact that it concerns an image on a flat surface is furthermore emphasized in a number of prints, such as the "Charlotte de Bourbonplein", because part of the surface, usually the sky, is left unprinted, so that the white paper becomes part of the image will matter. In "Holiday Photo No. 2" from 1973, the unprinted paper is used to depict wisps of clouds. All these interventions almost completely reduce the appearance of spaciousness. Almost, because the suggestion of space is always present. After all, looking at an image always remains an active process. The viewer does not perceive passively and without prejudice. This will always continue to see space, even where the artist has tried to eliminate it completely. A second difference with reality concerns the composition. Anyone who would take the trouble to actually consider the situation of an image, if that is still possible, would be in for a surprise. A tree or a fence appears to have been moved, a part has been omitted or added elsewhere. "In fact I am edging the image", Sees Vlag himself once said. The essence, however, is never affected; on the contrary, reinforced. The changes made never lead to an incorrect display or impossible situations. If a fence has ten bars, there will be no more or less. And in case of doubt about architectural constructions, a pulse is again taken on site or an architect is consulted. Or an engineer when it comes to tools. People from technical professions therefore have a special interest in the work of Sees Vlag. The composition of the prints is varied. Sometimes the entire surface is filled with a section, but usually the object is depicted almost in its entirety, usually against the background of a smooth, transparent or picturesque sky. The areas of color are massive, the colors restrained in themselves. Living beings are missing. The people seem to have disappeared as in the story of the Day of Judgment by Belcampo, leaving their traces in the form of texts and signs; antennas, electricity wires, a bicycle, a car, a tram. The streets and the landscape are deserted. The shifts in the composition, the changed perspective, the interplay of lines, the beautifully subdued colours, the quiet character and the virtuoso printing technique together result in Sees Vlag's own and immediately recognizable style: an image that is more beautiful than reality. Over the years, Sees Vlag has perfected its technique. With the help of experts, experiments were carried out with different types of printing ink and paper. The colors are obtained by mixing based on the three primary colors (red, yellow and blue), white and black. The instrumentation was further refined; now even needles are used. We work with surgical precision. Thus a result is obtained, which even by experts is often confused with a screen printing. The technical improvements made it possible to increase both the number of printing runs (the number of times the print goes through the printing press) and the print run. The number of printing runs in the beginning was 40 on average; now the average is 80. A highlight was "'s-Gravenhage - Daily Green Market" from 1984 with no fewer than 84 print runs. In the beginning, the circulation was 30 pieces, which has now risen to 80 pieces. However, the increased number of printing runs means that the production of the prints has become much more labour-intensive, which means that fewer prints can be made per year. In the past that was an average of six per year, now it has fallen to two. Work by Sees Vlag is now in the possession of various museums, institutions, companies and countless private individuals. Since 1970, Sees Vlag has been an independent visual artist in addition to his work
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