Bob Bonies

The Hague (the Netherlands), 1937


Bob Bonies (1937) can be regarded as a successor to the De Stijl-movement. In his work he concentrates on the question as to how far one can go with restrictions and reductions without losing tension in the picture. Bonies has restricted himself in pictorial language, and in choice of colours; he uses only the primary colours plus green and white.

In his paintings Bonies uses the colours for a direction in space: vertical, horizontal and diagonal. He aims to achieve a synergy between the three-dimensionality or the construction of his picture, and the real space in which the picture exists. In this sense Bonies also sees himself as a spatial constructor. He works mainly with squares and rectangles. When he begins a new painting he sets to work in his studio and proceeds completely traditionally: canvas on a wooden frame.

Bob Bonies was born in The Hague where he frequently visited the Gemeentemuseum with its extensive collection of Mondriaan’s works. De Stijl movement and the works of Theo van Doesburg and Mondriaan would always be part of Bonies luggage, wherever he went.

Bonies studied at the Vrije Academie voor Beeldende Kunst and at the Royal Academy in The Hague, where he concentrated on sculpture. He studied interior layout and design at the Konstfackskolan in Stockholm. Bonies was the ‘First one-person exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam’ in 1966. In the same year he participated in the international exhibition Forms of Colors with work of Donald Judd, Ellsworth Kelly, Barnett Newmann and Frank Stella. Bonies has collaborated with a.o. choreographer Hans van Maanen, couturier Frans Molenaar and composer Simeon Ten Holt. He was director of the Vrije Academie in The Hague from 1988 to 2001 and co-founder of the Bond voor Beeldende Kunst Arbeiders (Union for Visual Arts Labourers / BBKA) in 1972.