Joop Sanders

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Joop Sanders
Born (1921-10-06)October 6, 1921
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Nationality American
Education Art Students League of New York
Style Painting
Movement Abstract Expressionism,
The New York School

Joop Sanders (born October 6, 1921 in Amsterdam, Netherlands) is a Dutch-born, American painter, educator and founding member of the American Abstract Expressionist group. He is the youngest member of the first generation of the New York School.

Early life

Joop Sanders was born 1921 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and emigrated to the USA in 1939. He became a US citizen in 1955. He is married to the lieder singer Isca Sanders. His son is the steel sculptor John Sanders and his daughter is the lawyer and environmental activist Karin Greenfield-Sanders. His son-in-law is the photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders and his grandchildren include artist Isca Greenfield-Sanders and filmmaker Liliana Greenfield-Sanders.[1]

In 1940 Sanders met Willem de Kooning at a concert featuring the music of Virgil Thomson, Aaron Copland and William Schuman. As de Kooning was, Sanders is Dutch. He had immigrated to the U.S. in 1939. At the concert Sanders started talking to the woman sitting next to him. When he told her his name was Joop, she remarked, "Oh, is that Dutch? You have to meet my fiance who is also Dutch." The woman was Elaine de Kooning.

He studied:


Sanders was a charter member of The Club, which was located at 39 East 8th Street.[2] The twenty original members of The Club were Landes Lewitin, Phillip Pavia, Willem de Kooning, Milton Resnick, Conrad Marca-Relli, Franz Kline, James Rosati, Ibram Lassaw, Al Copley, Ad Reinhardt, George Cavillon, John Roelants, Joop Sanders, Ludwig Sander, Emanuel Navaretta, Charles Egan, Jack Tworkov, Gus Falk, Ahron Ben-Shnuel and Peter Grippe.[2]

He exhibited in the legendary "9th Street Art Exhibition",[3] held at 60 East 9th Street from May 21-June 10, 1951 alongside; Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell, Willem de Kooning, Elaine de Kooning, Albert Kotin. Milton Resnick, Joan Mitchell and Lee Krasner, among others.[2][4]

For Joop Sanders' 1960 exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum, critic Thomas B. Hess wrote the following;

"It was in 1948 that I first met the advanced painters and sculptors who a decade later were to become famous as the “New York School”. And it was then that I was introduced to Joop Sanders and I was told that Joop was painting in a new style. Later I saw his pictures in some of the huge lively exhibitions the artists themselves organized in empty lofts and stores (no one in New York with the exception of Pollock was selling any paintings). At the time Sanders was obviously influenced by de Kooning and as it turned out this influence was the healthiest, the most open and stimulating of the moment as many of Sanders’ young colleagues can testify. They went on to discover or invent some of the most original forms of the 1950s. Shortly thereafter Sanders went to Europe where, I heard, he was establishing a growing reputation."[citation needed]

Last year he returned to New York and this January held an exhibition of the new paintings and collages at the Stuttman Gallery. It is these together with some older works, which this forward accompanies to Europe. Joop Sanders left the figure once more in 1955 and returned to abstractions which relate to nature and to the cycles of growth and death, A recurring title “Buddingg Grove” comes from Proust and some of the Swans violent jealousy as well as Verdurin’s moral dilemma and Marcel's infinite longing are appropriate parallels to Sanders’ green sprouting and dissolving shapes. The too solid flesh is resolved into leaf dew. Water and steam circulate; there is fluid motion and haze.[citation needed]

It is particularly appropriate that the Stedelijk Museum, which, under the enlightened leadership of Mr. Sandberg, has played such a crucial role in introducing advanced art in Europe, should have chosen for its exhibition of a younger American painter these eloquent works. It is also relevant that these ingratiating images of leaf and water (land and ocean), interpenetrating and substituting themselves one for the other, should be by an artist, who is both a native of Holland and New York. Holland—which is built of earth in the ocean. New York—a stone spine that breaks through the same waters 3000 miles to the west. It is a personal pleasure to introduce my friend Joop Sanders in this way to his own family".

1980s and later

In 1987 art critic John Sturman wrote the following for Art News about Joop Sanders' exhibition at the Alfred Kren Gallery in New York;

"Sanders, who was born in Holland in 1921, emigrated to the United States and helped spearhead the Abstract Expressionist movement in New York in the late 1940s and early ‘50s. Although Sanders has not achieved the fame of his former colleagues, he has produced an impressive body of work that deserves to be better known."[citation needed]

The aforementioned exhibition therein the artist’s first solo show of his work in New York since 1968, focused on paintings and drawings from two discrete periods—the ‘60s and the ‘80s. Most of the ‘60s works offered nearly monochromatic fields of primary color. Sanders’ monochromatism is far more akin to the emotionality of Rothko than to the precise evenness of Newman. Summer Heat (1962), for example, features an expanse of bold, dense brushstrokes of deep yellow, with a thin white circle outlined at the lower left. Its hazy, mustardlike thickness says, with almost oriental simplicity, all one ever needs to know about the feel of oppressive days in July and August. In a similar fashion Blue Eclipse (1962) and Moonlite Night (1962) evoke a profound and enigmatic nocturnal ultramarine stillness. Sisyphus (1963), consisting of the outlines of two opposing triangles and a circle on black field, neatly sums up the tension and futility that characterize the task of the mythological titan.[citation needed]

The ‘80s paintings were a more disparate group, and, although they are strikingly different from the near monochromes of the ‘60s, they do have stylistic similarities with the earlier works—notably the bold, intense brushwork and the use of geometric forms (especially circles). The most spectacular of Sanders’ paintings, Dream of the Red Chamber (1981–82), is a large tondo of kaleidoscopic richness. With its vibrant palette of red, orange and light green, this work has an Asiatic cast that suggests the classic Chinese novel after which it is titled. Its intricate, pinwheel-like arcs and circles, in conjunction with lush colors, create an enchantingly phantasmagoric effect. Quite antithetical to the lyricism of this work is the blunt impact of such paintings as Pogrom (1984) and Interrogation Room (1986). The former is an abstraction suggesting a nighttime scene of flames and barred doors; the latter depicts a lone slatted seat against a murky, menacing background.[citation needed]



Select one-man exhibitions by Joop Sanders includes the following;

Select group shows by Joop Sanders included the following;


Sanders' work is in public collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam; Milwaukee Art Museum, and Israel Museum.[citation needed]


Selected reviews include Thomas Hess in ArtNews, Kenneth B. Sawyer in Art International, Hiram Butler in Horizon, John Sturman in ArtNews and Lawrence Campbell in Art in America.[citation needed]


Joop's teaching positions have included:

See also


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  3. "9th St." Show Poster
  4. New York School Abstract Expressionists Artists Choice by Artists, p. 16; p. 38; p. 326-329
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External links