World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 131 - Nicole Verhalle

Nicole Verhalle paints the dreamed space. In watercolors, she fills the canvas with spots and oval bodies in a completely own style. In larger works in egg tempera, erratic lines and motions take you into the painted performance.

I visit her in her house in a nice green area on the outskirts of the city of The Hague. Outside in the courtyard are beautiful reddish chickens. Their eggs play an important role in her work as a raw material for the pigments. She uses them for making the egg tempera. Nicole: “I prefer to use fresh eggs. That's better for the elasticity of the paint. The chickens are from my daughter. They were forlorn chickens." Of that forlornness is nothing more to see. Parmantically they occasionally pick up something from the ground.


In the back room and the front room are a number of her works. There is also a painting of Siet Zuyderland, which in his way depicts the dreamed space. Verhalle feels related to his work and has exhibited with him. Zuyderland is a poet lover. That applies equally to Verhalle. Some works would not have been there without a particular poem.

Verhalle: "To get rid of everyday life I start reading something, I'm looking for parallels. I recognize a truth about existence. That can also be an associative truth. I research it in the visual field. It may turn out to be an illusion of truth. The painting goes beyond just reality." Poets she regularly reads are J.C. Bloem, Bernlef (a friend of Zuyderland), Szymborska and Ungaretti.

Space and landscape

Space and landscape, that’s the starting point. In space she wants to go deep and preferably take the viewer with her into it. In that regard, she is in line with the Italian painter Lucio Fontana, who developed the Spazionalismo to create more space in a painting. Verhalle connects the landscape  with the human inner.

In the painting 'Noorderlicht' (Northern Light) in the room we are talking, we see an angular shape. In former paintings this comes back as a rudimentary house. Verhalle: "An archetype house, a shelter, a human nest. A hut, open, susceptible to the wind. Being safe is in danger.”

Form language

But more often there is joie de vivre, positive visions. "I originally come from Limburg, painting for me is capturing something in a virtuoso way. The brush stroke may dance.” Some paintings are complex and fully worked out. Others are done in fewer actions. A few years ago she made clear watercolors. A dark shape came back regularly. They were exhibited in Florence in La Rotonda Barbetti in 2012. And in 2014 in the literary café Giubbe Rosse.

Curator Daniella Pronesti then commented: "Nicole makes representations of globe shapes, chromatic volumes floating in space or floating on the surface, gliding on or crossing each other, touching, but in no case blending together. What kind of kingdoms are they, what kind of parallel worlds? (..) The predominantly brilliant tones seem to bring a positive vision of life, even though the presence of dark blacks indicates a different vision. "

Poems and language (or: inspiration)  

J.C. Bloem, the poet, wrote the following sentence ‘The ground swells to the sky as a desire’. The poet makes a distinction between the earthly and the heavenly. Verhalle: "The earth obtains here a human character / human traits."

We go upstairs, to the attic where her studio is located. At the top are two large raised windows that allow light to a large extent. There are two big works against the wall and some smaller ones. A big work she is doing is entitled ‘Cobalt & Absinth’ with different white, green and blue colors. On the other side there is 'Into the Wild (garden)', with a lot of green, rusty red and a huge movement in the painting. That movement is also in recent works such as 'Opus' and 'Fuga'. "Fuga means flight, escape. A Fuga of Bach develops from a single core that, apparently improvising, diffuses into notes that are both melody and accompaniment, both front and background, both theme and transition. A good abstract painting should be read as a music score." (Dimitri Verhulst)

Own paint

Big works she starts on the ground. The smaller ones on a table that is not that big. She opens the closet and I see a rainbow on color powders, including Prussian and Cobalt Blue, Carmine Red, Emerald Green. Some pigments are very expensive. She makes her own paint, she is emphatically in color. A ritual work of fifteen minutes. First mix egg with linseed oil - the fresh egg jar is in the winter outside the window in the roof gutter - and then she blends the bright colors into the egg emulsion.

She does not throw away anything. With what’s left, she will work in the sketchbook. She may cross over an earlier sketch. Tabula Rasa. Search, change, find. When she works music is on, only classical music.

Nicole Verhalle studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Amsterdam. She found an atelier in The Hague, in a former classroom, afterwards a large room above Theater De Vaillant, and eventually realized a pretty ideal space in the attic of her new house.

She regularly exhibits, recently in Theater Heerlen, at Kapberg gallery in Egmond aan de Hoef, in Kranenburgh in Bergen, North Holland, where she is a member of Artists Center Bergen, and in Kunsthuis De Bakkerij in Bergen Limburg.

What I'm doing

Finally, asked for a philosophical conclusion, she quotes two poets: ‘Carpet’ of Guiseppe Ungaretti and ‘What I am dealing with’ of J. Bernlef.


Each color expands and feels

In other colors

To be lonier if you look at it (per essere piu solo se lo guardi)


What I'm doing

The difference in smell between

water and ice on a square

millimeter and in the shadow

of a child's pink

so light to keep that it disappears

almost immediately forgotten as a reminder

in itself

what then remains.


1) Cobalt & Absinth, 205 x 180 cm, 2017, 2) Fugue, 60 x 50 cm, 2016, 3) Opus, 60 x 60 cm, 2016, 4) Into the wild (garden), 2016, 5) A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor, 150 x 100 cm, 2015, 6) Vitality, 120 x 150 cm, 2014, 7) Origin, 75 x 90 cm, 2014, 8) Poppy, 50 x 70 cm, 2014, 9) Jackson , 70 x 90 cm, 10) Nicole Verhalle in Atelier, 11) Watercolor, 12) Balance, 13) Dog of Bacon, 34 x 26 cm, watercolor, 14) Watercolor



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