Daan van Golden

Daniël (Daan) van Golden (Rotterdam, February 4, 1936) is a Dutch artist, who has been active as painter, photographer, collagist, installation artist, wall painter and graphic artist.[1] He is known for his meticulous paintings of motives and details of everyday life and every day images.


Born on Katendrecht in Rotterdam in 1936, Van Golden was initially trained as fitter at a technical school from 1948 to 1950. On Sundays he received painting lessons from a Jesuit priest who was attached to the school. From 1954 to 1959 he attended the evening courses at the Rotterdam Academy of Visual Arts (now Willem de Kooning Academy) at the painting department, where he also took classes in graphic art and design.[1]

Van Golden started working as independent artist in Schiedam in 1961.[1] Initially he was concerned with action painting and painted ferocious work with thickly applied black paint. In 1963 he made a trip to Japan. There he came into contact with meditation and he realized that the human mind can find peace in watching simple form carefully. These simple shapes could simply be found in the everyday life.

Menhir sculpture, Amersfoort 1995.

Upon returning to the Netherlands Daan van Golden started painting copies of brown packing paper to find peace of mind. This painting was the beginning of a series of works, created between 1963 and 1975, in which simple objects such as handkerchiefs, tea towels, packing paper, tablecloths and other decorative material were repainted down to the smallest details.

After a period of painting diamond motifs, in a new period Van Golden dealt with copying public newspaper photographs, posters and advertisements. Hereby he made use of photography and screen printing technique. Later in the 1980s Van Golden became inspired by the drippings paintings of Jackson Pollock, which inspired him to create a series of paintings in which the silhouettes of paint drips minutely created strange characters.

In the early 1990s Golden turned to depicting silhouettes of photos and portraits. He copied painted profiles of Mozart. These silhouette paintings he mostly made in several versions. The personal style of the artist makes each painting unique, despite the compositional similarities with other paintings.

Daan van Golden is still active. Through his meticulous way of working, he makes an average of only 3 to 4 pieces per year. He exhibits little and is therefore regarded as a mysterious artist.

Many of his works have been included in international collections. In the Netherlands possess the Amsterdam Stedelijk Museum, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen and the Hague Municipal Museum some of his works.


Van Golden is influenced by pop art, abstract expressionism, minimalism and conceptual art. His paintings are realistic representations of subjects from mass production, but can be considered as abstract art as well.

In his paintings of everyday objects, Golden deliberately chose to omit light and shade that only the one-dimensional decoration motive remained. The result was a selection of abstract paintings that consisted only of straight lines and flat color planes. The precise way in which the works are painted, they seem afflicted by machine. On closer inspection, however, the hand of the artist shows himself. That's the message from Golden: only by long and intent study of an object, can you discern the beauty and personality of objects that seem boring at first sight. Golden wanted to make the impersonal personal.


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