John Raedecker, Gres sculpture of a female head, execution by Bert Nienhuis, 1923

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Long before John Rädecker became known as the sculptor of the Dutch National war memorial on the Dam (Amsterdam) he enjoyed great fame. With his Expressionist body of work - visionary faces/portraits, human and animal figures – in an unprecedented style which is often simply characterized as Amsterdam School but in fact featured a much more complex melting pot of influences. Rädecker departed from traditional styles and motifs in sculpting and became well-known around the world. Like many other artists of his time Rädecker was fascinated and inspired by ethnographica from Africa and Oceania and theosophy. This unique mask, a one-off, dates from 1923. At that time Rädecker briefly collaborated with ceramicist Bert Nienhuis, an expert in the field of clay applications, glazes and different pottery techniques. This mask, made of glazed high-fired chamotte (burnt clay), was commissioned by the Dutch poet P.N. van Eyck. Van Eyck, who lived in London, was one of the first and most important collectors of Rädecker work. This is an extremely rare item because the collaboration with Nienhuis was so brief and Rädecker was quite particular about the burning- and glazing process of sculptures, it only resulted in a few objects. This mask would later be executed in bronze (in an edition of circa three; one can be found in the public collection of the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag). The mystical, often dreamy faces inspired art critic Albert Plasschaert to write: "In these masks you feel, different treatments, different materials, different moods, an interiority that seeks no theories, and gives insight in the work itself." Literature: 'John Rädecker, De beeldhouwer en zijn werk', Amsterdam: De Spieghel, 1926, pic. XVI. Y. Koopmans, 'John Rädecker', Zwolle: Waanders Uitgevers, 2006, p. 342.

John (J.A.) Raedecker
Amsterdam School
24 x 27 x 19 cm

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