You can see Peter Voss’ extraordinary talent for drawing birds in ‘Bird Diary’

Artist Peter Voss had an extraordinary talent for drawing birds, and this is evident again from his book “Bird Diary,” which will be published this weekend.

Jill Reemer

Artist Peter Voss died ten years ago. The general public may have known him primarily as a painter and from the merry Beast Quartet, in which proverbial animals such as Shit-thrush, Brat, Sloddervos, and Bumblebee appeared in small pen drawings, or of joy or depression. Accompanied by the Lions who have used the side section in the Free Netherlands for years. So the painter Voss was more famous than the artist Voss. This is a big mistake, in the twentieth century Holland had few painting talents of its size. In 2013, Fondation Custodia in Paris and Rembrandt House in Amsterdam – two temples of the higher arts – dedicated an exhibition of one of Vos’ most notable works, the Metamorphoses.

Voss interpreted Ovid’s Greek myths and showed in dozens of highly elaborate and detailed drawings how the Milliger sisters were transformed into guinea fowl, Elsion and her deceased husband Sioux into young kings. The metamorphoses painted by Peter Voss are rarely completed; We see birds flying in the sky and often their breasts or buttocks are still visible, but they are birds. The fact that Peter Voss had an extraordinary talent for drawing birds is also evident from The Bird Diaries, which was published this weekend.


Peter Voss statue

It turns out that there was a treasure hidden in a shoebox of the happy widow of Voss-Lochorst, and a number of sketchbooks with drawings of birds and notes of birds that Peter Voss made in 1992 for Sidon. Thanks to her collaboration, this collection is now faxed to us and we can all enjoy it. Jean-Pierre Gillin wrote an introductory essay introducing the tormented artist to us.

passionate valley

At the beginning of 1992 Vos withdrew to Lunteren amidst the bountiful nature and away from the Amsterdam canal belt with its frustrated number of people and drinking establishments. In Lunteren, surrounded by rich birds, Vos succumbs to observation and painting in order to crawl out of a passionate ravine. Occasionally she comes happy, but most of the time he is alone and riding a bike or walking. He notes his daily bird watching: ‘Do 21v. On the road at seven. Nice quiet and cool. The same way. Lots of singing. Also Woodlark now, who sings earlier than April. Sonoor family crow in the woods. The stock pigeon is now well identifiable. (…) The black woodpecker calls invisibly. And all lavishly covered with paintings of impressionist birds, to infinity.

Void statue of Peter Voss

Peter Voss statue

Vos usually worked with a rolling stylus and then colored the birds with watercolor or colored pencil. The result is birds as you actually see them, real birds and not pictures as we know them from bird guides. The birds depicted in such guides are picture-perfect and somewhat woody, shown in profile from the left in a rigid pose and identification marks clearly visible. They died, in the literal sense often, because they were painted after a stuffed version. On the other hand, Peter Voss’s birds are alive, they shine, brush their feathers, sometimes look at you, sing, flapping their wings, their plumage seems windy; In short, they do and are everything that live birds do.

Delicate weather makes the hazel grouse in love and loud

Sketchbooks and diaries run parallel to time. Sometimes this can be found in the pictures. On April 7, 1992, Voss sketched two Nutcrackers in the sketchbook in pencil and the third in pen; The latter is briefly colored red and light gray. Two of the diary’s nuthatches can be found in exactly the same position, with the text “Several nuthatches, which are also easy to look at. ‘Fair weather makes them fall in love and it’s loud.'” A few weeks ago, on March 19, he painted Robin. Made of no more than thirty fine ink scratches and a few gray-and-red colored pencils, the bird stares curiously at you with black beady eyes.It has a soul.

The latter applies to the entire book. It is beautifully designed with a black linen cover and a reading bar. Three sketchbooks with annotations in the margins have been reproduced, and the central bird diary has been reproduced in full page. The notes are repeated in Vos, but sometimes in rather difficult handwriting, in a separate section. Dozens of woodpeckers, hedge sparrows, blue-breasted, long-tailed tits, and even one squirrel are literally dropping the pages. What an incredible beauty in that shoebox.

“Bird Diaries”, Peter Voss. Publisher Muller, 160 pages, price 24.95 euros.

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