The Amsterdam Museum opens a solo exhibition by painter Maaike Schoorel (1973) on May 7 at The Willet-Holthuysen House, its unique location at Herengracht 605. For this occasion, Schoorel has produced a series of ten new paintings and a site-specific installation that invites visitors to experience her associative research through photographs, collages, and special discoveries from the collection.
Reevaluation of women’s roles
She focuses in particular on Louisa Willet-Holthuysen, the collector who gifted the building, with its completely new French interiors and decorations in the Louis XVI style, to the municipality in 1895, with the behest to turn it into a museum.
Schoorel assumes the personage of Louisa Willet-Holthuysen and plays with her passion for animals and nature. She also draws associations between her and another female museum founder of that time, Sophia Lopez Suasso-de Bruijn, who laid the foundation for the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. In doing so, Schoorel offers a reinterpretation and reevaluation of women’s roles in the art world, then and now.
Schoorel is internationally renowned for her delicate paintings that evoke a soft indefinable space, a dreamlike twilight zone between abstraction and figuration. Nature plays a central role in her work. In addition, historic houses form a central place in her oeuvre, in which she focuses on often inconspicuous details such as cracks and sun-bleached stains on the wallpaper. Placed in the same space, such paintings cause a subtle Droste effect that causes visitors to suddenly focus on what is happening outside the frame and experience the passing of time.