50 Jaar Soviet-UnieGenk, Willem van
50 Jaar Soviet-Unie, 1967
ink and gouache on paper
96 x 174 cm
© photo credit
Collection de l’Art Brut, Lausanne
Genk, Willem van (1927-2005), Netherlands
Willem van Genk was born in Voorburg, the Netherlands. He was subject to serious health problems, as well as behavioural problems, from a very early age. He started to draw both at school and at home, finding in this mode of expression a way of escaping from his solitary and difficult childhood. As an adolescent he was placed in an orphanage, then in a Christian arts and crafts school where he took courses in commercial art. But being incapable of adaptation, he was eventually accepted in a workshop for the mentally handicapped in The Hague.
The paintings that he created at home, in his flat, involved complex cut-out and collage processes. They were directly inspired by his many journeys to the former Soviet Union, Rome, Paris, Madrid, Copenhagen, Cologne and Prague, among other places. He also drew inspiration from various guidebooks or photographs derived from his own research.
Exhibition(s) at the Art Brut Collection