Plowing farmer in Limburgs landscape. 1908 - 1927
- About the artist
The painter Herman Gouwe was born on May 8, 1875 in Alkmaar. Gouwe was educated at the Academy of Visual Arts in Amsterdam, where he became friends with the Maastricht artist Rob Graafland. In the years 1908 to 1927, Gouwe spent half of the year in South Limburg. The other half of the year he stayed in Amsterdam, which later became Blaricum and sometimes foreign cities such as Paris and Tangier. Together with Jan Bakhoven, Guillaume Eberhard, Rob Graafland, Henri Jonas, J. Van der Kooy, Jos Narinx and Vic Reinders, Gouwe founded the Kunstkring van Limburg in 1910.
After 1910 he stayed for some time in Blaricum, where he was in contact with Jan Sluijters, Leo Gestel and Hart Nibbrig, all representatives of a new painting style in which the emphasis in their work was placed on a Fauvist use of colour. Like no other, Gouwe has succeeded in depicting the rising and setting of the sun in his work. His landscapes radiate a harmonious tranquility because there is a good balance between the landscape, the effect of light and shadow and a single person, usually a working farmer. A certain influence of Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin is recognizable. He was more influenced by the collaboration and friendship with the Limburg artist Rob Graafland and, to a lesser extent, Henri Jonas.
In 1909 he and his fellow academy students Gerard Westermann (1880-1971) and Chris Hammes (1872-1965) had the opportunity to organize an exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. For artist-critic Conrad Kickert (1882-1956), Gouwe's work with 'blazing skies' and 'fan-radiant summer landscape' provided a provisional outline of the neo-impressionist movement as a whole. At that time, Gouwe had already focused on themes from country life, work and plowing horses.
In 1927, Gouwe went to Tahiti, where the painter Gauguin inspired him. In the company of three friends, Gouwe traveled by boat from Toulon in the south of France to Polynesia-Tahiti. Here he settled on the east coast close to the sea. In the beginning he mainly painted portraits and local landscapes in deep green and brown tones. From the early 1930s, his color palette changed to an intense luminism. That made his work attractive to many American and Australian collectors. Josef Sandberg invited him to exhibit in the Netherlands, which resulted in an exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam in 1959. In the same year he returned to Tahiti and died in 1965 in Papeete.