Jan Verkade

Zaandam (near Amsterdam) 18 September 1868 - 10 June 1946 Abbey of Beuron, Germany

Le Nabi obeliscal

Two Women in a Field, circa 1892 Woman in a Forest, circa 1892-4




Went to Paris; was received by Meyer de Haan who introduced him to Gauguin and Serusier. Serusier put him n touch with Nabis with whom he formed close friendships.


Converted to Catholicism


Entered the Benedictine monastery of Beuron in the Black Forest


Became a novice. Serusier writes to Verkade that personality is destroying the style created by the Nabis. Vuillard, Roussel, Bonnard were relying on themselves.


Verkade in Prague and Serusier and Denis come visit


Ordained Dom Willibrord Verkade.


Visited by Serusier and Denis in Monte Cassino. After painting with Denis, Verkade (in notes you wrote "D"?) "Maurice Denis has made a frenchman of me."


Moves to Monte Cassino, revives his love of nature


met Jawlensky in Munich


Dad dies and he visits his mom in Holland. Visits Paris. Sees Serusier and Denis. Saw paintings by Gauguin, Van Gogh, Cezanne, Bonnard, Delacroix, and Puvis.  ?Also this year he was present at the Salon des Independants with the fauves introduction. (05)?


Visited and painted along side Serusier in Munich for a few months. Learned Serusier's Hot and Cold Palates


On the way to Vienna he stopped in Munich and saw Jawlensky.


His time at the Abby of Beuron was during the time of Father Desiderius. Verkade did believe that  religious art could be confined to a single formula and that religious art must necessarily be monastic art. Did like the communal undertakings under Desiderius. Serusier also appreciated this group endeavor.

Denis and Serusier also tempted by the School of Sacred Art, but later all three were displeased with Lenz's disciples.

Verkade would not be convinced by Serusier but also would not disconnect from their relationship. Verkade cannot forever remain in the supernatural and comes back to nature as a bird cannot forever remain in the sky with its wings outstretched.3

my thought: I do not see a distinction between the natural and the supernatural. But I do see a world of man based on a common consciousness and set of goals in which I do not participate, and in which I become confused when compelled to communicate and relate to my fellow human.

Sent by the monastery to Heiligenbronn, Palestine, Vienna. In 1913 on way to Vienna he stopped in Munich to see Jawlensky again. Now expressionism is in full gear.

Verkade wrote in a letter in 1906, "There are two arts: a purely monumental art and an art of pure feeling."

School of Sacred Art - Strange movement in religious art at Beuron directed by Didier Lenz who became Father Desiderius

(From Source 3 Chapter Nine)

Lenz, born 1832, died 1928, was influenced by the mysticism of Overbeck and Cornelius. Matched simplification of Gregorian Chant in painting, sculpture and decoration. Both lines and tones rebelled against Raphel and even Fra. Angelico's softness. Believed the Renaissance lead to paganism and its perspective as illusionistic method which renounces absolute truth. Do not paint from nature, nature is deceiving. Must go back to Egyptian art for true proportions and religious sense. One dogma of truth thus one art to give it expression.

Disliked towers, Gothic, or anything which has a military purpose.

Christmas Eve 1864 Lenz drew up statues of a brotherhood. 1868 the Prior of Abbey of Beuron commissions Lenz along with friends Wuger, Schwendfur and Steiner to the little chapel of St. Maur. 1970 Wuger becomes a monk. Lenz goes from museum to museum measuring Greek and Egyptian and Greek statutes to prove mathmatically the identity of the Beautiful and the True. 1872 Lenz enters the Abbey as a lay brother. Has plans for a church totally unlike any other ever built. 1876 he becomes brother Lenz. 1878 becomes Brother Desiderius, a choir monk, takes vows. Left Beuron during the Kulturkampf, struggle between Church and state. Spends lots of time in Prague, etc. 1890 the Prior dies. 1891 he is raised to sub deaconry, his highest rank. In 1889? Pope Leo XIII commssioned Desiderius to restore the tombs of St. Benedict and St. Scholastica. In 1910 the restoration is finished and he begins work on plans for church of Sacred Heart of Jesus. By 1905 he is back in Beuron due to his health. Father Verkade took over as master decorator. 1903 Kaiser Wilhelm II went to Monte Casino with King of Italy to look at the work of the monks of Beuron and made a gift of 10,000 marks.

The Beuron group exhibited

1905 - secession Group in Vienna
1907 - Aix-la-Chapelle
1909 - Dusseldorf
1911 - Ratisbon
1912 - Brussels

my thought while sitting there in the National Art Library in the Victoria & Albert Museumstudying this: how much of your thought regards the current situation

In 1909ish Desiderius (D) wants his canon published in total as dogma. This is disputed. Six times he rewrote his text and six times there were suggestions for corrections. It disappeared upon last journey to the censors.

1910? - Consecration of crypt at Monte Cassino. The pope says "un arte tutta cristiana."

1926 - A film made about D, The Master of Beuron

1928 - 28 Jan, he dies in his 96th year while last prayers were being said around him.

"His work marked a break with sentimental art and its replacement by a completely objective and dogmatic art." Prior Ildefons Herwegen.



3)    The Nabis and their period. Charles Chasse’. Translated by Michael Bullock 1969. Lund Humphries, London. First published French 1960.