Thursday, June 23, 2016

Carel Willink's Imaginary Realism

Carel Willink (1900-1983) experimented with various Modernist "isms," finally settling into a version of "Magic Realism" that he called "Imaginary Realism." Essentially, everything in his paintings was done in a realistic manner, but placed in unusual circumstances, as the images below indicate. I find them strange, yet oddly appealing.

Willink's short Wikipedia entry is here and a useful chronology on a website devoted to him is here.

Besides his Imaginary Realist paintings, Willink made a good living as a portrait artist, his portraits usually featuring the hard-edge style of his other works.


Farmhouse with tree - 1918
Painted before he assumed his signature style.

Stadsgesicht (Cityscape) - 1934

The Dirigible - 1933

Self-Portrait with Wilma van der Meulen - 1934
Wilma was his first wife. She died in 1960.

Landschap met omvergeworpen beeld - 1942

Mathilde tussen de monsters - 1966
Mathilde de Doelder was another wife -- his second according to the second link above. Some sources state that he had four wives; if so, Mathilde would be the third. A while after they divorced, she was found dead, naked in bed, a gunshot wound to the left temple and a gun held in her right hand. These last two details lead some to speculate that she was murdered.

Reclining Venus - 1975
The subject is Sylvia Quiƫl, Willink's last wife, some 44 years younger than he. She has devoted the time since his 1983 death to her art and his memory.

Willink painting Sylvia

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