An exhibition on the occasion of the 100th birthday of the artist who died in 2012, in collaboration with the Province of Limburg.

The Bonnefanten and the Province of Limburg are celebrating the 100th birthday of Dutch artist Ger Lataster with an exhibition. Lataster helped determine the prestige of Dutch painting from the 1950s onwards. The Icarus theme was important, both in terms of content and form, in the development of his expressive, dynamic style. He continued to use this "abstract expressionist method", as he called it, through all changes in his method.

Two locations, one exhibition


Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 11:00 – 17:00

Gouvernement aan de Maas

Opening hours: closed until further notice, due to tightened corona measures

The exhibition in the Bonnefanten opens with two large canvases from 1954. In the gallery dedicated to him, a selection of mainly monumental paintings from the period 1960-1990 can be seen. In these paintings, Lataster's artistic passion for experimentation can be followed from canvas to canvas. His humanist commitment also comes forward, such as in the paintings Vietnam and the four-part The hair of the women, the glasses of the poets, the shoes of the workers and the ashes of all: an immediate reference to the famous photos and film images of Nazi concentration camps.

In the central hall of the nearby Gouvernement on the Meuse, the emphasis is on the artistic early years and his later work, in which his personal environment and the surrounding nature play an important role. It revolves around everything that gives life, with his mother, his wife and his friends as central figures.

Check out our collection of Ger Lataster's work:

Spelende Kinderen, Ger Lataster
Ger Lataster, Spelende Kinderen 1954, Collectie SCHUNCK, foto Peter Cox

Ger Lataster

In the late 1930s, it was Jef Scheffers, the director of the Maastricht Secondary Applied Arts School, who pointed Lataster to modern masters such as Henri Matisse and Paul Cézanne. Lataster later said the following about Paul Cézanne: “It was as if I was struck by lightning. […] I thought, if there is such a thing as real painting, it is this. ”

Because of the second world war Lataster did not go to Antwerp, but ended up in Amsterdam. There he met the photographer Hermine van Hall. She was the youngest daughter of the artist Frits van Hall, who was murdered by the Nazis. This made him politically aware. After the war they got married and had two children: Daniël and Peter. These events became decisive for his artistry, which is one great monument to life itself and at the same time an indictment of human pride and the urge for destruction.

He also received a lot of support from Willem Sandberg at that time. This influential director of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam purchased several of his works for the museum and involved him in exhibitions of European and American avant-garde painting. In 1950 Ger Lataster took part in the group exhibition Young Painters, initiated by Sandberg, in the Town Hall in Heerlen, together with fellow Limburgers such as Jef Diederen, Pieter Defesche and Marianne van der Heijden. They had followed him to Amsterdam and settled there. In the press the company was referred to as "Amsterdamse Limburgers" (also known as "Limburgse Amsterdammers").

In 1954 the Municipality of Heerlen Lataster commissioned a monumental painting for the Town Hall. He submitted two: an Icarus Atlanticus and Spelende Kinderen. The Municipality hung the second. The first was shown in a 1956 group exhibition in New York.


The Icarus theme refers to a Greek myth in which Icarus tries to escape from the island of Crete by building wings from a wooden framework, set with feathers in an arch of wax. Against the advice of his father Daedalus, he still flies close to the sun; thus his wings melt and he falls into the high seas. Set against the backdrop of the Cold War and the nuclear arms race, Icarus for Lataster is a symbol of human pride and the devastating aspect of technological progress.

Icarus Atlanticus 1954, Ger Lataster
Ger Lataster, Icarus Atlanticus 1954, Collection Erven Lataster


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