To characterize the work of Jef Van Grieken, we can quote Johan Van Cauwenberge: The great appeal and at the same time the strength of his total development lies in the composition. He observes the spaciousness, touches and steps the environment like a surveyor, chooses and selects what impresses him most; then he draws and constructs in his head the image he wants to make of it. Only then does the real work begin; that which makes the studio silent when a wafer-thin layer of fabric fills the empty sheet or canvas with an image that some will afterwards strongly deny that it was made by a human hand. The original of an artist like Van Grieken does not lie in the apparent imitation of an idea or a given reality. He filters the continuous influx of new impressions into a recognizable part of his colorful and varied oeuvre.
Jef Van Grieken (° Herenthout 07/29/1950)
Studied at the academy of Antwerp (1967-69) and Mechelen (1969-73) and from 1973 to ’76 at the Nat. Higher Institute of Fine Arts in Antwerp in the department of free graphics. From 1975 he participated in numerous individual and group exhibitions at home and abroad.
Some noted personal exhibits were:
1984 and 2013: The Belgian House in Cologne
1986 In Washington: lectures & demonstrations at the Smithsonian Institute; Exhibition at The International Devolpment Bank and the Brasilian Culturel Center in Washington
1991 at the Fine Arts Museum in Taipei
2000: Retrospective exhibition at the Cultural Center A. Spinoy in Mechelen.
2002 in the Curaçao Museum in Willemstad
From 1980 to ’93 at gallery De Vuyst in Lokeren Antwerp: Gallery Van Campen-Roctus, and ‘t Scoon Huys since ’94 until today at gallery Albert I in Brussels
His work is also represented in many national and international public collections, including the Museums of Fine Arts in Antwerp and Mechelen, the Royal Library in Brussels and numerous Belgian banking institutions. Also in the museums of Nürnberg and Taipei and in private collections in Columbia, Mexico, USA. and Saudi Arabia and many European countries.
Van Grieken was awarded the Prize for Young Belgian Graphics 1978, the Grand Prize Kortenberg and the first Prize for Drawing Belgica-150 in 1980 for his work. He was also laureate of the Biennale for Drawing in Nürnberg, Germany.
In 1983 the first monograph on his work (by Marcel Duchateau) was published by Lannoo publishing house, which was soon exhausted.
In the autumn of 2000, on the occasion of his fiftieth birthday, the City of Mechelen organized a large retrospective exhibition in the Cultural Center A. Spinoy, and a second extensive monograph was also published: “De Getekende Stilte”, written by VRT employee Johan Van Cauwenberge. (also exhausted) A recent book was published by publisher P in Leuven and gives an overview of the pastels and acrylic paintings from 2000 to 2010. Pandora books published a catalog raisonné of his graphics, this concerns all etchings, part of these works was presented in 2014 in the Jacob Smits Museum in Mol