An idiosyncratic artist back in Valkenburg
Museum Valkenburg presents from 27 January to 22 April 2019 a unique overview exhibition with known and unknown works by the Amsterdam Limburger Lei Molin. Molin is one of the most famous artists from the municipality of Valkenburg, born in Berg en Terblijt in 1927. He worked as an artist in various styles and techniques, initially figurative but gradually abstract. In 1990 Lei Molin died after an impressive career at the age of 63.
Most of the exhibited works at Museum Valkenburg have never been shown before, according to his wife Nine Molin- van Caldenborgh. “They were not even framed, we had never arrived. They date from his last period. Lei knew he did not have to live much longer. Yet he wanted to work every day, even though he was already ill. But spiritually he felt completely free. He often told me that he no longer had to wrestle with the materials, as before. “I can now make everything I want,” he said often. Then there is a lot of you. Those feelings can be seen in these last works.
Nine Molin, long-time owner of ‘Gallery 9’ in Amsterdam, together with Thei Voragen, former director of Museum Van Bommel van Dam – has put together this exhibition in consultation with Museum Valkenburg.
Impressive art career
The Valkenburger Lei Molin has had an impressive art career. He was largely self-taught. Lei followed the Middle School of Applied Arts in Maastricht for a while and later studied at the Académie Julian in Paris. Roughly four different periods can be distinguished in his work. In the beginning, still living in Valkenburg, he made figurative works that depict landscapes, village scenes and portraits. But gradually he painted large abstract canvases in exuberant colors, under the influence of the Cobra movement and minimalism.
In 1967 Molin exchanged South Limburg for the west of the Netherlands. First to Overveen, then IJmuiden. There his work was influenced by the ports. Molin made many collages and objects, consisting of found objects on the beach.
Finally, Amsterdam became its home and workplace. Lei joined a group of artists who originally came from Limburg, including Ger Lataster, Pieter Defesche, Jef Diederen and Pierre van Soest. “The world around him was his main source of inspiration,” according to Nine Molin. The work of poets, writers, musicians and fellow artists, but also his trips to Sicily, Spain and the Ardennes inspired him to a large extent.
From the mid-1980s his last and particularly expressive period came into being: the colors returned to his work. In 1988, Lei Molin received the Jeanne Oosting Award ‘as an appreciation for individual artistic quality in figurative art’.
The exhibition ‘Lei Molin, an idiosyncratic artist’ can be seen in Museum Valkenburg from 27 January to 22 April 2019 (2nd Easter Day).