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"Blankert taught himself how to paint. Thanks to his particular feel for colour and use of space, [he] creates his own world in his work, one that resounds with solitude and suspicion. Blankert leaves nothing to chance in the painting process. Only when a composition has been arranged to his complete satisfaction does he carefully begin to apply layers of acrylic, alkyd and oil paint to achieve the utmost sparkling result. In the course of time, [his] painting style has gone from quite sharp and fine to looser and more painterly. The artist finishes with a lick of varnish only when he is truly satisfied with the result. That can take years sometimes. Blankert is seen today as one of the most reputable Dutch artists working in the figurative tradition."
"'Being depressed is good for art', Blankert said in an interview with the Nieuwsblad van het Noorden on Nov. 14, 1997. Such statements are typical of this painter, for, if anyone is able to ironically distance themselves from Blankert's alienating and somewhat depressing pictures, it is the artist himself. Even though he is by far not as well known among the general public as the other 'realists', such as Matthijs Röling or Henk Helmantel, he is considered one of the most striking figurative present-day painters by experts.
To Blankert... the term 'realist' is far too limited....[His] compositions are not simply literal paintings of people (often modeled on himself), interiors, pieces of furniture and landscapes, but representations of a unique observed reality which create an evocative series of associations and memories, the interpretation of which is left with the viewer.
It is not easy to put into words what Blankert's work is about. But as Blankert once put it, his work is 'not intended literary'; 'the image speaks for itself'.
"Barend Blankert, Master of Melancholy" ...