On Paul Werners art
a Dutch expressionistic painter
living and painting in Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Sometimes it is completely abstract-expressionism we are looking at, in the paintings and lithos of Paul Werner. That is not strange at all, because one painter he loves very much is Willem de Kooning; Paul werner do understand his brush-gestures and his color-tones very well. However there exists also a big gap between the two; Paul Werner realizes himself in a more traditional way and closely bounded connected with its subject; he never allows himself to make much distance from the subject he choose. That's why in his works the subject almost never disappears into atmosphere or in the free gestures, or in the colors itself. For Paul werner there must be some similarity and possibilities to make recognition somehow or somewhere. The world must show its daily face in his paintings or lithography. This is the boundary which kept and still keep him in the tradition of Dutch and Belgium expressionism. Also Soutine and Van gogh are very much present in his work. These are the two great 'loves' of Paul Werner. ( it is not by accident that also De Kooning was very strongly influenced and inspired by Soutine and his influence always resonates in de Koonins paintings and sculptures. So it does with Paul Werner!)
I am from a younger generation Dutch artists than Paul Werner is; nevertheless I can realize very well what it meant to paint just nature and figuration in a period in Amsterdam where every young artist painted emotional neo-Cobra, emotional abstractions or a clean formel-abstract art. Paul Werners subjects were - despite all kind of modernism around him - the impressive Dutch and French landscapes full of energy and movement, but also the political protest from those days (1960-1975); both they asked the full attention of his emotional inner self. He stayed faitfull to these elements of the world which fascinated him and which he loved very much: skies, mountains, the coast with a wild sea, the wild wood with his huge trees or the emptyness of a wide vue.
Also the peace-movement and the protest against the Vietnamwar attracted him strongly as a struggle against unjustice, he hated. He kept his emotions alive - however that was a hard job - and it was his strength to be able to use them very sensitively. They didn't start to dictate him or his paintings; also on the opposite, he didn't kill his emotions but gave them space to live and to breath. So he could use them as the source for his act of painting. And in the same time they accepted the boundaries of portraying the subjects he wanted to. That's why I consider him as an Dutch modern expressionistic and naturalistic painter.