Utrecht, The Netherlands
Hosted by Jan Berghuis
It all started at the Paris Salon in 2001 where it was decided to have another Dutch Salon …preferable at the date of 2006. That meant we had five years to prepare a Salon. Initially we indeed thought to have enough time……
In 2003 we unfolded the plans during the Salon in Brugge in detail. The real planning and organization was already on the go. In 2005 the NIMETO was heavily involved on daily basis with the Salon.
Many branches in the organization were having their own responsibilities and all students had an assignment or at least were touched by the Salon. It came to a crescendo after the Salon 2005. Fall 2005 all departments were heavily involved up to March 21. On this day the whole NIMETO-school was refurnished and transformed into the Salon-location. And that was only meant for about three days. Because also as a first: the whole Salon and their members would be transported (as a tour) to another city called The Hague. The Hague is the residence of the Queen and in one of their palaces nowadays a renowned Dutch artist has it’s own museum: the Escher-museum. All possibilities came together in the plan as a perfect puzzle.
In advance the school made a new website for the Salon. Never before the internet meant more for the Salon. Communication was mainly done by e-mail as where the Salonforever-website gave the latest news. This Salon was the first concept-Salon. Each and every member was asked to achieve a theme done in unity. Because the craft is heavily into ornaments and their meaning as image-language Salon 2006 had a sparkling theme:
Kings, Queens and Jokers.
The latter because decorative painters are the fools in the trade. Holland is a country with a solid foundation in the monarchy. And also Jokers are crucial figures in the deck of cards, that holds a lot of mysteries and stories. These were the ingredients that made the Salon 2006 a colourful event. And all members did their up most………some had a wardrobe for each day totally within the concept. It was one big party.
March 22 they all came to Holland. Most members flew in Schiphol-Amsterdam airport.
At arrival there was a receive by students and teachers who led the members to trains to Utrecht where the second party helped them on the buses-shuttles.
The school was filling up all nationalities and the painters and friends installed their panels with that fantastic assignment they all indeed fulfilled. Everybody received the typical yellow goody-bag with the red Salon-logo on it. Obviously the (well-sought-after-)goodie-bag was available for all participants. Those who were a member of the Salon were very recognizable by the strong, chrome-yellow bag with the red logo on it Filled with paints, canvas and Utrecht-Salon-info. We called them the yellow-army!!
But: already for a week Mr. Patrick Kirwin was preparing the Community Painting in a secluded room.
Unspoken instinct drove all painters individually to produce an original work where you could find the magic of Kings, Queens and Jokers. It was an explosion of big talents, they all had entwined the concept into their speciality: whether it was a huge wall-mural or a table-top: it said Kings, Queens and Jokers all over.
The first installation-day reached the evening as where the NIMETO offered some light dinner snacks and drinks. That was also the moment that Cornelius Scheer and Jan Berghuis as initiators and organizers welcomed all members in an unofficial way. That moment was also spend to inform everybody about the whole event in detail. This was a short introduction about what was going to happen the next four days.
And after this the musical painters ( and even a Salon-band) started to play music. Memorable were Patrick Laheyne, Pascal Amblard and Michael Hern.
At the end of the evening people went to the Mitland Hotel….only a few steps away from the NIMETO.
Thursday March 23, early in the morning , all members attended at 09.00 hours.
The official opening of the Salon by the Fosag, Union of painters-employers.
Mr. Kruiderink spoke his wise welcome words to all international visitors. Mr. Verschoor did his speech in a flamboyant way and Cornelius Scheer and Jan Berghuis both ended with:
“the Salon is ON!!!!!”
From then on all painters went to their easels in all three rooms on the first floor and started their demonstration. Sure…..there was a beautiful programme book printed with a day-to-day programme by hours and who was about to do what. But this is the Salon………they came to paint and paint……ALL. Special Salon music in the demonstration-rooms that enhanced the Magic-atmosphere, special Salonpaint was made by the old-time-loyal-sponsors Golden Acrylics. This acrylic paint was developed to have a long open-time and still work with a full bodied paint.
Biggest secret surprise of this Salon was the always present Joker. A lifelike Joker that entertained everybody and showed visitors their way to demonstrations and lectures.
It was a full hectic programme…..the first lecture was from George Zaffle who is a renowned travelling painter. And later on the day Pascal Amblard and Sean Crosby both lectured on History of Illusionistic Painting and perspectives in scenery-painting. All lectures were done in the all-high-tech-lecture room with the most modern equipment available, very convenient. Public came in large numbers and old times revived from the earliest Salon-days. Refreshment drinks for participants were served by a bunch of jokers with carts running around all corners of the school. Lunch was served by the caterer in the lunchroom. The organization had to improve at least 1997 when the Salon was held in the same building with the same organisation. Because again the Union for Painters Employers , the FOSAG, was a big help and sponsor to this Salon as it was in 1997.
Next to that we had another big help and sponsor in the name of GOLDEN ACRYLICS. From day one they were on the phone and Email to help out in any way possible. They even had a special hand-out pamphlet sent to their clients in USA and Europe, made the special Salon paint and delivered tons of paint at the school to be used by the decorative painters of the Salon 2006. And they also sponsored a special evening in Utrecht.
Thursday's evening was officially the opening. Everybody went after the demonstration back to the Mitland hotel to freshen up and change clothes; informal BUT glossy!! Within 2,5 hours the lunchroom of the NIMETO was transformed into a restaurant and bar in a mediaeval style. A witch welcomed everybody and a special barber cut the bears and goaties of Mr. Amblard and Mr. Woodland. All members were present and entertained by the singers that wandered around through the big room. Hilarious moments by the French table with their typical French songs but overall; Everybody was in their best mood to play along.
The witch opened the evening by having one of her audience try her so called-witch-soup- with a big story around it that the first who tasted it and lived would…………..
After a while the doors went open and trumpeters introduced a stampede of students with hosts all dressed up as Kings. They manoeuvred themselves around a shrouded room…..covered with cloths as not to spoil the surprise. After some introduction words of Mr. Scheer, Jan Berghuis took over by explaining what was behind the cloth.
The NIMETO -students had made a special demonstration for the Salon-group. This was also in the concept of Kings, Queens and Jokers.
Then gradually the students removed paper that covered parts of the room whilst Jan Berghuis explained what it all was about. They named this project “the Room of Cards” because all ornaments were romantically painted in the classical forms of plinth, dado, panels and frieze. On the sides there were two “jokers” anamorphic ally-painted as if they were floating in a playing - card.
They blew hundreds of bubbles on to the wall. It was a sensation. The children of Jan Berghuis unwrapped themselves because it was their own portraits. The evening went on with great fun.
Later on the women of the Salon presented a nice gift for Jan Berghuis because of his birthday: Golden Underwear!!!!
Friday, March 24, the second Salonday started at 09.00 hours and had again lots of visitors coming into the school. We even had local television and some members were interviewed. Visitors came in great numbers into the Salon-happening. Youngsters, like students, as well as the older painters. The exhibition was glamorous. On the ground floor there were in every room and corridor big black expo-panels with enormous amount of decorative arts on them. On the first floor three painting classrooms were filled with demonstrators who worked all day, like the previous day, on their panels. Painters were scheduled throughout the day, but the schedule was overruled by the Salon-spirit of all painters; everybody painted the whole day through. Each classroom had its own station for paint-handout. In the demonstration areas the air was filled by special music that enhanced the concept of Kings and Queens. The Joker warned the visitors by times for special lectures. Like Eric Mackey´s “decorative painting without paint”, all about using the computer as a study-tool. And Robert Woodland gave his splendid slide show on the “Non-such Chest”, a precious chest that was grained in many woods as a supreme Marquette-imitation. In between the Joker-helpers were there to provide everybody with tea and coffee.
Evening arrived as the members had an evening to go and walk through Utrecht-city by guides and special Salon-map. In the middle of the tour there was a presentation by Golden Acrylics in a beer-brewery. BUT:
What no-one really understood was that the Salon organization went bananas the moment the last member left the NIMETO. All exhibition panels and boards and paint and little chairs AND the Room of Cards were dissembled , put into transport-busses and were transported to The Hague. In that night a wonder was developed.
The exhibition was hauled two flight up a staircase, the demonstration-area (totally new board walls) was being installed. All that in the Escher Museum, the famous etcher and painter of geometric impossibilities. Once this museum was in fact a palace of the Queens of Holland. Hence our concept again fitted too well. It was like a marriage. The Room of Cards was installed in the Queens ballroom……a dream.
Saturday, the 25 th of March , the second leg of the Salon landed in The Hague. By busses all members were picked up early at the hotel and driven to The Hague. The mayor of The Hague opened the show, then Mickey Pillar director of the Escher Museum, talked very wise words as well did Mr. Verschoor from the NIMETO.
There was outside a marathon run going on outside on the street but despite of that the visitors were in queue outside waiting to get in. It was a sunny day !! And again the Salon was happening all around as many members were doing demonstrations on the new mounted walls in the garden covered by a tent and heated up by special appliances. All the public gathered around our artists and at moments it was so crowded that we could turn off the heaters. At the entrance the Community Painting was installed and many painters were heavily involved under the expertise captainship of Patrick Kirwin.
Each person who wanted to buy their ticket at the office could certainly not ignore that gigantic painting !!! The special Salon - music was ongoing and creating that special atmosphere. The music was a recognition-point during the Salon.
Golden-paints were distributed and many members started even before the opening in The Hague was official. Eager painters as we are !!! Lectures in the Queens Ballroom by Pierre Finkelstein, George Zaffle and Patrick Kirwin. People were jammed in the Room of Cards.
What a dream came true.
Later that day the Salon -members were hauled in tour-buses and brought to the City-Museum-area where they were offered a dinner. It was a very relaxed dinner amongst the members without any official word. Oh; sorry……….Jan Berghuis and Mickey Pillar ( Escher Museum) opened the dinner with a dance….the rest followed. With a good and warm feeling everybody was late in the evening back in the Utrecht hotel.
Sunday the 26th the Royal Salon began again by bus to The Hague. All members were more familiar with the environment.
The public came again in numbers. Again.
In the basement before one has to enter the demonstration area all sorts of portfolios were on tables. Pascal Amblard did an extra lecture. Evening came and sadly so the Salon 2006 was almost over.
The members were asked to pack their belongings, except for the artwork on the exhibition-floors upstairs. The Salon-exhibition was there to stay for another three months!!!!!!!
Back to the hotel all went to refresh themselves and dress up for the special Grand Final Velvet Ermine Dinner. This final dinner was not just a party: it was theatre-concept-entertainment . All participants and invites for that evening REALLY participated in this years Salon-assignement: they all dressed up in full colors to the Kings, Queens and Jokers-theme !!!Again in busses the Salon arrived at Ottone which used to be a church in the midst of Utrecht. The place was totally decorated by the school students with lavishing draping, deck of cards and flowers. Everybody received their introduction champagne at the first floor as “the King and Queen” were amongst us to welcome.
Obviously a good look at them both would recover two teachers of the NIMETO.
Jan Berghuis and Cornelius Scheer opened the dinner. One man in particular was on the stage to be thanked: Chris Erney (from USA)…the plaster man. He and some students were heavily involved in another special of this Salon, which was a plan from years before. He castled all the faces of the Salon -members in plaster which then later was to be mounted in a memorial-plaques also from plaster. Each face would become a Joker when mounted in.
Chris Erney worked like a madman during the Salon and sometimes he didn't had any notion of what was going on elsewhere. Four days long and the preparations the week before….what an effort. Golden was also greatly thanked because of their omissible support in both practical and technical ways. At each Salon we have the fortunate presence of Golden Acrylics and it was time we greatly thanked them by offering the Community Painting to Golden.
And of course also Mark Golden came on the stage. With special hats.
Dinner went on as after desert the Salon had to be closed.
Susan Arnild was to be called on the stage ….the new to be Organiser of the next Salon. She did a nice speech and offered the Salon a drink in a special package. Susan signed gracefully the Manifesto ….there was no way to return after that. The Salon 2006 was closed emotionally.
But it wasn't really over until the room was filled with the Rock ´n ´Roll of “the Clarks” to dance to. The party went on up till two o’clock in the morning.
Monday many returned to their native country, except for about 30 people. They booked the post-Salon-Tour. In the afternoon the busses brought us all to the Royal Palace “the Loo” (No, it means an open space). They were opened on special occasion and we had a tour within. Tuesday was a tour to the paint manufacture Sikkens. In Sassenheim we saw the exquisite museum for paint and wallpaper. And had a lunch!!
Later that day, finally for some, we went to Amsterdam for a Jacob de Wit- tour, the famous Dutch decorator of grisailles and ceilings. What more?
Well, next to a fantastic programme-leaflet book……..Cornelius Scheer had the whole event filmed on video. So he went on with organizing and produced “Salon 2006 the Movie” on dvd. (with picture cd), assembled by Rob de Weerd. The amazing dvd was sent to all members a few months later as the last surprise-act.
The second Dutch Salon was a dream once and a reality now.