À bois perdu

Siemen Dijkstra

from 15 February to 6 September 2020

Opening hours: every day except Monday, from 12 to 6 pm


Siemen Dijkstra (1968) lives and works in the village of Dwingeloo, in Drenthe in the Netherlands; here he produces spectacular coloured woodcuts in which he seeks to ‘capture on paper the spatial experience of a landscape.’

These are ‘fisheye’ prints, laden with plants and leaves, ripples and grass. But alongside all the details, Dijkstra never loses sight of the global image: light piercing the vegetation, colours that harmonise, the slightly misty atmosphere in the distance.

Siemen Dijkstra, Arboretum no. 2, Wemmenhove, 2013
Coloured woodcut. – 495 × 755 mm
Collection of the artist
© ADAGP, Paris 2019 / photo: Bert de Vries, Beeldwerk

The technique of reduction woodcut (à bois perdu) that he uses entails each layer of colour being cut out separately from a single piece of wood, then printed successively on the paper. With his large editions sometimes built up out of 10 to 18 colours, the artist evokes, inside his studio, an eloquent world beyond his four walls. ‘What I should really love to do is to be able to reproduce the scents of the outside world’, he says. His prints smell of printing ink, of course, but with the cut-out forms and the printed colours, he is able to suggest light and the sky, the earth and vegetation in masterly fashion.

Siemen Dijkstra, View of the Oethoezerwaad, no. 2, Oude Westereems, 2012
Coloured woodcut. – 405 × 870 mm
Collection of the artist
© ADAGP, Paris 2019 / photo: Bert de Vries, Beeldwerk

In the seven exhibition rooms allotted to him at the Fondation Custodia, a selection of Dijkstra’s very best coloured woodcuts is offered, all dating from the past twenty-five years, along with drawings, gouaches and watercolour paintings by his hand.

Siemen Dijkstra, Roads to nowhere no. 10 : Slichteveen, 2012
Coloured woodcut. – 235 × 225 mm
Collection of the artist
© ADAGP, Paris 2019 / photo: Bert de Vries, Beeldwerk

His work is based upon his acute sense of the history of the landscape he depicts. In his view, the organisations for the protection of nature are mistaken in their attempts to create an idealised landscape: the landscape of Drenthe is unique because the authentic heaths and peat bogs jostle with the agricultural and forested lands of the twentieth century – which have themselves now become a kind of nature. Siemen Dijkstra illustrates this diversity.

Siemen Dijkstra, Dead Stone Marten, 2012
Watercolour-gouache, pen and ink. – 300 × 300 mm
Private collection
© ADAGP, Paris 2019 / photo: Bert de Vries, Beeldwerk

The Drenthe landscape is Dijkstra’s main subject, but in Paris representations of other parts of the Netherlands are also on show, as well as drawings and prints executed during (or immediately after) travels in Scandinavia, India and France. At the centre of the exhibition, by way of an intermezzo, can be found drawings of dead animals: birds killed by crashing into a window or a windscreen, rats and mice caught by a cat, weasels, moles and hedgehogs and, less frequently, a stone marten or a squirrel. Still-lifes of fur and feathers.



Siemen Dijkstra. À bois perdu
Gijsbert van der Wal
Paris, Fondation Custodia, 2020
196 pages, c. 150 colour illustrations, 27 × 24,5 cm, hardback
In French and in Dutch
ISBN : 978 90 6868 813 9
29,00 €
[Out of stock]


Video | Siemen Dijkstra at work

Siemen Dijkstra. À bois perdu - YouTube


Practical Information


Fondation Custodia / Collection Frits Lugt
121, rue de Lille - 75007 Paris
Tel: +33 (0)1 47 05 75 19

Access by public transport

Metro: Assemblée Nationale (line 12) or Invalides (lines 8 and 13)
RER C: Invalides or Musée d’Orsay
Bus: lines 63, 73, 83, 84, 94, Assemblée Nationale
Vélib’: station opposite (n° 7009)

Opening hours

Every day except Monday, from 12 to 6 pm

Admission charges

Admission charges 10 € (full) / 7 € (reduced)
The reduced rate is available to seniors (over 60), unemployed people, groups of at least 10 people

Free admission: students, press card, ICOM card, disabled person’s card

No online reservations

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