Print Room: Co Westerik - Drawings collected by Leo van Oosterom

Co Westerik, Naked man, 1969, Pen, pencil and water colour on Japanese paper, 192 x 143 mm, Loan Stichting Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen 2004 Co Westerik, Standing man before mirror, 1971, Pen, pencil, water colour and Indian ink, 325 x 182 mm, Loan Stichting Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen 2004

Press release

Co Westerik
Drawings collected by Leo van Oosterom

10 March - 3 June 2012

Several years ago, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen received a gift of ninety-five
drawings by Co Westerik, from the collection of Leo van Oosterom. The artist is
known mainly as a painter, but he also made many drawings. This spring, a selection
of drawings and water colours from this donation will be on show in the Print Room.

Leo van Oosterom (1937-1987) got to know the work of Co Westerink (b. 1924) in 1968, in
Galerie Fenna de Vries in Rotterdam. It was here that he bought his first drawing by the
artist, and this laid the basis for his collection. He eventually acquired a collection of nearly a
hundred drawings, which was donated to Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen after his death.
A selection from this donation is being exhibited in the Print Room.

Sensitive lines
Co Westerik is painter, graphic designer and draughtsman and during the last seventy years
has built up an impressive oeuvre. Unlike his paintings, which show a layered approach and
on which he often worked for a long time, his drawings seem fast and spontaneous. He uses
ink, pencil and chalk to draw scenes derived from reality, yet which evoke an inner world of
feelings and emotion. The transparent water paint with which he colours the scenes gives
the drawings a poetic character.
Westerik is a master in drawing with a fine pen, it is almost as if he is writing. Spontaneously
and seemingly from nowhere, an image appears on the white sheet of paper, which he
defines further as he draws. Some details are elaborated, other parts of the drawing are
intentionally vague or left empty, which allows space to emerge for the interpretation of the
person viewing it.

Leo van Oosterom
Leo van Oosterom (1937-1987) got to know the work of Co Westerink in 1968, in Galerie
Fenna de Vries in Rotterdam. His purchase there was to be the first of many. Van Oosterom
not only purchased from the gallery, but also from collectors. His last acquisition was made
in 1986, not long before his death.
Van Oosterom was born and bred in Rotterdam and from 1963 worked in the harbour at the
IHC, a cooperative of shipyards. In his younger years, he painted himself. But once he had
chosen a career as a manager, he devoted his spare time to collecting ethnography and
modern art. He did this with considerable enthusiasm and a fine eye for quality. Van
Oosterom particularly appreciated Westerik’s work because of the great refinement his
drawings displayed. As the years past, the two became friends.

Previously in Boijmans
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen has an important collection of paintings, drawings and
graphic art by Co Westerik. It has also organised various presentations of his work. The first
exhibition took place as long ago as 1968. Major retrospectives were held in 1999 and in
2004, to celebrate the artist’s seventy-fifth and eightieth birthdays.

Back