Contemporary art on show

Exhibitions in Heerlen

Exhibitions

Works by contemporary artists selected by our Art Curator are regularly exhibited at our head office in Heerlen. The art committee often buys from the exhibitions to add to the collection. These exhibitions are open to DSM employees and the general public during office hours upon appointment (temporarily closed due to coronavirus).

Ger Lataster (1920-2012)

Icarus - paintings

Like DSM, Ger Lataster (1920-2012) was born in Limburg. From the 1950s onwards his work became a major factor in the appreciation and influence of Dutch modern art. The Icarus theme was important to Lataster in the development of his expressive, dynamic style in both content and form. He continued to use his “abstract expressionist” style as he called it throughout changes in his methods over the years.

The Bonnefanten museum and the Province of Limburg are celebrating Lataster’s 100th birthday with an exhibition of his work. DSM has also set up a small side exhibition in the hall of the head office in Heerlen. Central to the exhibition is the work Icarus Atlanticus from 1955, which is one of the earliest additions to the DSM Art Collection. The Icarus theme refers of course to the Greek myth in which Icarus tries to escape from the island of Crete with wooden wings with feathers set in wax. Against the advice of his father Daedalus he takes off and when he flies too close to the sun; his wings melt and he plummets to his death in sea. Set against the backdrop of the Cold War and the nuclear arms race, Icarus for Lataster was a symbol of human pride and the devastating aspects of technological progress.

In the late 1930s it was Jef Scheffers, the director of the Maastricht Secondary Applied Arts School, who pointed Lataster to modern masters such as Henri Matisse and Paul Cézanne. Lataster later said the following about Paul Cézanne: “It was as if I was struck by lightning.… I thought, if there is such a thing as real painting, it is this”.

Because of the second world war Lataster did not go to Antwerp as he intended, but ended up in Amsterdam. There he met the photographer Hermine van Hall, the youngest daughter of the artist Frits van Hall who was killed by the Nazis. After the war the couple married and had two children. The war, the births of Daniël and Peter and their grandfather’s earlier murder were instrumental to Lataster’s work, which is both a great monument to life itself and an indictment of human pride and our urge for destruction.

A key supporter was Willem Sandberg, the influential director of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. He purchased several of Lataster’s works for the museum and involved him in exhibitions of European and American avant-garde painting. In 1950 Ger Lataster took part in the group exhibition “Young Painters” initiated by Sandberg in the Town Hall in Heerlen, together with fellow Limburgers such as Jef Diederen, Pieter Defesche and Marianne van der Heijden. They had followed him to Amsterdam and settled there, earning themselves the nickname in the press of "the Amsterdammers from Limburg” (or if you preferred “the Limburgers from Amsterdam”!) In 1954 the Municipality of Heerlen commissioned a painting for the Town Hall. Lataster submitted two works, an Icarus Atlanticus and Spelende Kinderen (Playing Children). The Municipality hung the second. The first was shown in a 1956 group exhibition in New York. The work Icarus Atlanticus that is part of the DSM Art Collection dates from 1955.

With thanks to the heirs of Ger Lataster

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  • History

    DSM's art collection was established in 1927, making it one of the oldest corporate art collections in the Netherlands.

  • Collection

    The DSM Art Collection currently includes more than 750 works by around 400 artists. Here's a small selection from the core collection.

  • DSM Nederland

    DSM Nederland B.V. is de regio-organisatie en dochter van Koninklijke DSM N.V., met een aantal ondersteunende taken voor de bedrijfsactiviteiten van DSM in Nederland.

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