Hugo Claus

Brugge, 1929 - Antwerpen, 2008

Hugo Claus was a truly multi-talented artist. He wrote poetry, novels, film scenarios and plays, as well as drawing and painting. And he did all these things at a singularly high level. Claus is still considered one of the greatest authors in the Dutch language and was repeatedly tipped as a potential Nobel laureate.

Born in Bruges, Belgium, on 5 April 1929, Hugo Claus was sent to a boarding school for the very young at just 18 months. He continued to board until 1940 and subsequently found he could not get used to living at home. At just seventeen he took off for France.

Claus published his first poems in 1947, aged 18. His first novel, De Metsiers, followed in 1950, coming under fierce attack in Catholic circles. That same year Claus joined the CoBrA movement, taking part in several small CoBrA exhibitions. Some of his expressionist gouaches date from this period.

Claus’ participation in CoBrA stemmed from his friendships with various members of the movement and his impact was not significant. His CoBrA friends included Pierre Alechinsky, whose book Zonder Vorm van Proces he illustrated in 1949, and Asger Jorn, who painted a mural in Claus’ house in Ghent. Christian Dotrement helped Claus in creating peinture-mots

As a visual artist Hugo Claus had exhibitions in many countries. His work, often slightly mocking in nature, is widely acclaimed. In 1988 he published the novel Een zachte vernieling, an ironic contemplation of the early Fifties and his CoBrA period.

In his later years Claus contracted Alzheimer’s. He died in 2008 in Antwerp.

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Jaski Gallery is situated in the heart of Amsterdam’s Art & Antiques district, where we’ve been since 1988. We specialise in work from the CoBrA movement and contemporary art. The gallery regularly stages exhibitions and takes part in major art fairs such as TEFAF in Maastricht and PAN Amsterdam.


Nieuwe Spiegelstraat 29
1017 DB Amsterdam
Tuesday – Sunday 12:00 – 18:00
+31 20 6203939