Jules de Goede

Abstract artist and teacher


Jules de Goede, painter and teacher: born Rotterdam, The Netherlands 20 May 1937; Lecturer, then Senior Lecturer, Middlesex University 1972-2003; died London 19 September 2007.

The Dutch abstract painter and teacher Jules de Goede was a quiet but abiding and popular presence in the London art scene from the mid 1960s onwards; he introduced a continental purism and uncompromising abstraction to avant-garde British art. In spite of the modern English school's relish for landscape and a residual romanticism there remained on these shores a small but determined core of advanced abstract artists who, by experimenting with architectonic and geometric form, continued the tradition of the pre-war "Circle", post-war "Constructionist" and 1960s "Systems" groups.

Jules de Goede arrived in England, a raw and untested yet cosmopolitan 28-year-old artist, via a circuitous route. Born in Rotterdam to parents who were part Dutch, French and German, de Goede, his two brothers and four sisters were raised in Nijmegen and lived through the Nazi occupation and subsequent liberation of Holland.

Early memories of the flat Dutch landscape were as influential as the pressing example of the indigenous de Stijl "school" on de Goede's future artistic development. A Dutch resourcefulness came increasingly to play in the reductive and logical geometric language that de Goede later fashioned in London. Architecture also inspired early copies painted from postcards of Old Master Dutch landscapes.

A precocious talent was nurtured at the art academies in Arnhem and later Eindhoven. These studies were compromised by day jobs as a silkscreen printer or packaging designer and, after the early death of his mother and the family's subsequent emigration to Australia, in the Australian News and Information Bureau and the National Capital Development Commission in Canberra.

As in Holland, de Goede's irrepressible urge to make art saw him attend part-time courses at the Julian Ashton and Desiderius Orban art schools. He met Brett Whiteley and other local artists and enjoyed three solo exhibitions, the products of which revealed the transition from figurative to informal or abstract-expressionist painting.

Having moved back to Europe in 1965, establishing himself in a Holborn flat in central London, de Goede set off on the uncompromising mission of becoming a full-time artist intent on exploring the fundamental spatial dynamics of pure form on the flat surface of pictorial art. The inherent tension between concrete flatness and illusory space gave modern painting its cutting edge and de Goede tackled the problem in the most direct and novel way: by introducing insertions and elliptical cavities which opened up the canvas surface to real recessive depth.

As the critic Corinna Lotz later wrote, de Goede was "deconstructing the notion of a canvas as a flat screen on which an illusion is to be projected". De Goede's use of the neutral square format, straight or curved hard edge shapes, and a severely reduced palette of black, white and grey, expunged extraneous associations with the natural world.

At times appearing overly clinical, akin perhaps to mathematical diagrams, de Geode's work nonetheless pursued its self-contained language in a manner that, through the introduction of manifold variations on themes, allowed a lyrical, even musical, playfulness to emerge. Trompe-l'oeil, visual tricks with perspective and the interplay between painted dimensional forms like cylinders or cubes and real spatial voids rendered unpredictable effects that countered measured, laboured and mechanical means of expression.

By natural extension, and in marked contrast to the revered Mondrian, de Goede later made sculpture. The curved, painted sheets of thin metal stemmed from the long "Zz" painting series of the late 1990s. The later free-standing painted wood columns, on the other hand, used black, white and grey planes to reflect light and radiate like the minimalist sculptor Dan Flavin's fluorescent light tubes.

De Goede's reputation in London was established through three biennial solo exhibitions with Grabowski Gallery between 1967 and 1971, and two at Jenny Stein's House Gallery during the late 1970s. He also projected himself through teaching and organising open-studio events. After losing a communal studio space in St Katharine's Dock in the late 1960s, de Goede and several other artists – among them the sculptor Michael Kenny and painter Bert Irvin – set up in an old red-brick Jewish schoolhouse in Stepney Green, east London. Here he occupied the large, unrivalled, top-floor studio formerly used by the sculptor Hubert Dalwood, a space in which he was able to realise his often ambitiously scaled wall-bound or free-standing paintings.

In 1972 Dalwood invited de Goede to teach at Middlesex University (formerly Hornsey College of Art) where his strong views, interdisciplinary interests and shop-floor empathy with younger artists ensured a long teaching career and promotion to senior lecturer. Teaching helped him survive commercially uncertain times, but by the time he retired from teaching in 2003 his work had finally taken off. A Jerwood Prize finalist in 1996, de Goede went on to claim success after the millennium through his west London dealer Angus Broadbent. A book with texts by Mel Gooding and Corinna Lotz, published by Broadbent in 2006, reflected this late and fully deserved success.

Peter Davies

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
News
Jermain Defoe got loads of custard
i100
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Developer (TSQL, SSRS, SSAS) Fund Manager - London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: SQL Developer (TSQL, S...

Software Developer (JavaScript, TDD, Jasmine, Angular.JS)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Software Developer (JavaScript, TDD, Jasmine, An...

Front-End UI/UX Developer (HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, Ang

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Front-End UI/U...

C#.NET Server Side Developer (C#, XML, WCF, Unit Testing,SQL)

£30000 - £40000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C#.NET ...

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition