Sailor with a hat, 1946
Pen drawing and watercolor on paper
Dimensions: 25 x 19 cm
Titled, monogrammed, signed and dated lower right: “Marin / à / la / toque / Eekman / XI XLVI »
Nikolas Eekman is a Dutch figurative painter born August 9, 1889 in Brussels. He is also known in France, Belgium and the Netherlands under the names Nico Eekman, Nic Eekman and under the pseudonym Ekma. He is also an engraver, draftsman, watercolorist and illustrator. His style is characterized by three major periods: expressionist between 1914 and the end of the 1920s, Flemish realist until the beginning of the 1950s, then fantastic.
At the age of 18, he gave his first lecture in Brussels devoted to “Van Gogh, cet inconnu”, a painter who, in 1907, was still largely unknown to the general public. In 1912, he visited Vincent van Gogh's first exhibition in Cologne, an experience that was to be decisive. He obtained his architectural diploma from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels.
Until the end of the war, exhibitions multiplied in the country and Eekman was the subject of numerous acquisitions by major Dutch museums and collectors, notably Hélène and Anton Kröller-Müller. In 1921, Eekman moved to Paris, and continued to exhibit in France and abroad. He frequents Dutch artists living in Paris such as Fred Klein, Piet Mondrian, César Domela, Georges Vantongerloo and Frans Masereel. He became friends with the gallery owner Jeanne Bucher who exhibited him in 1928 with Mondrian. This is the only time Mondrian will exhibit his paintings in a gallery in Paris. Even with two different vision of art - Mondrian promoter of abstract art and Eekman violently against - the two will remain bound by an unwavering friendship throughout their lives.
In the 1930s, Eekman was regularly present at group exhibitions, notably in the United States, and his personal exhibitions were organized throughout Europe. During the interwar period, Eekman took part in Parisian artistic life at the time in the heart of the Montparnasse district and frequented Jean Lurçat, Louis Marcoussis, André Lhote, Max Jacob, Moïse Kisling, Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Armand Nakache, Paul Signac, Jacques Lipchitz, Fernand Léger, Edouard Goerg, Max Ernst, as well as the Belgian artist Marcel Delmotte.
At the Paris International Exhibition in 1937, Eekman won a gold medal for his painting La pelote bleue, later acquired by the State for the Jeu de Paume museum. In 1944, the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels organized a very important Eekman exhibition to which Queen Elisabeth of Belgium visited.
In the 1950s and 1960s, exhibitions followed one another at a regular pace in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland. During the International Exhibition in Deauville in 1956, he received the “Prix du Nu”.
Shortly after a major retrospective at the Reflets gallery in Brussels, Nicolas Eekman died on November 13, 1973 in Paris.