There was a deeply felt connection between Dutch artist Jan Schoonhoven and Lothar Wolleh. Schoonhoven loved to speak German, and the two artists shared a deep interest in history and art. Wolleh was a frequent visitor to the small house on the Delft canal. Aad in ’t Veld, former assistant to Schoonhoven, reminisces about a visit in late 1970.
In autumn 1969, Lothar Wolleh visited his artist friend Jan Schoonhoven (1914-1994) in the Dutch city of Delft. That year marked the start of an intensive artistic exchange, of Wolleh’s iconic portraits of Jan Schoonhoven and of a collaborative book project. Lothar Wolleh and Jan Schoonhoven, pater familias of the Dutch post-war avant-garde, were kindred spirits. In their search for a new imagery, they shared a deep-rooted fascination with the imaging properties of light.
From the personal archives of Jan Schoonhoven’s long-time assistant, Aad in ’t Veld, comes a remarkable portrait of jazz pianist Mal Waldron. Wolleh photographed Waldron in December 1970, during his concert at the Delft jazz club De Eland, an artist-run venue for contemporary music and experimental jazz. Since the early 1960s, Delft was a ‘hub’ in an international network of artistic renewal, as was Düsseldorf, Lothar Wolleh’s hometown.
Aad in ‘t Veld remembers: ‘Lothar took quite a few photographs that evening. […] Moving around all the time, searching for the best positions. This is one of the photos Lothar took that evening. During his next visit to Delft, he gave it as a present to Anita Schoonhoven. And years later, Anita gave it to me. It means a lot to me, this photograph. […] And just take a look at it. Pure abstraction––at first glance. And then you suddenly see what you are actually looking at. For me, this is also a true Wolleh. Light. Shadow. Intimacy.’