Eversteijn, boxer & barber

Press release

Eversteijn, boxer & barber
A project by Carel van Hees

29 October 2011 - 15 January 2012

Carel van Hees, known as a dedicated documentary photographer and film makers, takes on the role of story-teller in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. In the late seventies and early eighties, Van Hees followed the heroic and at the same time tragic life of boxing champion Cor Eversteijn (1949-1983).

In the Willem van der Vorm gallery of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Carel van Hees (1954) depicts the rise and fall of the Eversteijn phenomenon. The focus of the exhibition is the last fight, against the English champion Cliff Gilpin. Carel van Hees shows this last fight, in which Eversteijn was knocked out in the first round, through black and white photography. Original archive photographs and video material show the life of the boxer, both inside the ring and outside. The exhibition also includes video interviews in which family, friends, boxers and coaches talk about Eversteijn.

Cor Eversteijn was not only multiple Dutch boxing champion, he was also a dandy, a barber and a celebrity in Rotterdam. But his success also had a dark side. His fight with life, in which he regularly sought the solace of drink and drugs, ultimately proved fatal for Eversteijn.

The fight with life

The exhibition does not show some boxing cliché of victory, but shows also the loss. As Carel van Hees writes: “The life story of Cor Eversteijn is a metaphor for the many faces of heroism. On the one hand, Eversteijn recognised and used his talents and opportunities and constantly wanted to do even better than he had before; on the other, he lost himself in his quest to manage the fear, temptation and adversity which went hand in hand with his success.”


A book by Carel van Hees with the same title will appear simultaneously with the exhibition. The book contains a selection of photographs from the photographer’s collection, but also from the private collection of the Eversteijn family and various public archives. In addition to visual material, the book includes texts about Eversteijn which van Hees collected through interviews and which writer Dirk van Weelden reworked and edited. The book is on sale in the museum shop for € 27.50 (Publisher Post Editions, ISBN 9789460830471).

Carel van Hees

Photographer and film maker Carel van Hees studied at the Academy for Art and Design St. Joost in Breda and was for several years active for the newspaper het Vrije Volk, the M Magazine for NRC Handelsblad and Vrij Nederland. Van Hees initiates lengthy projects that he presents in books, exhibitions and films. Carel van Hees has previously had solo exhibitions in Las Palmas in Rotterdam and in the Dordrecht Museum. His films Don’t catch my face (2005) and 2KM2 (2008) were shown at the International Film Festival Rotterdam.

The project ‘Eversteijn, boxer and barber’ was made possible by Mondriaan Foundation, VSBfonds, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, Van Leeuwen Van Lignac Stichting, Municipality of Rotterdam, Art and Culture department, G.Ph. Verhagen Stichting and the Centre of Visual Arts Rotterdam.