Charlotte van Pallandt

Charlotte Dorothée Baroness van Pallandt was born on September 24, 1898 in Arnhem and died on July 30, 1997 in Noordwijk. After a short marriage (from 1919 to 1924), when she lived in Bern in Switzerland, Charlotte became a full-time visual artist. She left for Lausanne in 1923 and a few years later (in 1926) she left for Paris with a friend. That city would become her second home.


In Paris she studied at the Académie Lhote, which was led by the cubist painter André Lhote. After a year she stopped taking those lessons and decided she wanted to become a sculptor. Back in The Hague she started working in the studio of the Belgian sculptor Toon Dupuis.

In 1928 she toured Italy and met the sculptors Albert Termote, Charles Despiau and Charles Malfray. That trip was a confirmation of her choice for sculpture. In 1935 she took sculpture lessons in Paris for a year at the Académie Ranson under Malfray. Charlotte van Pallandt later said that she owed everything to Malfray.


In 1930, Charlotte van Pallandt created her first masterpiece: De Tors. A year earlier, she placed an ad looking for a female model. A seventeen-year-old German girl lived up to her ideal of early femininity. She posed every week for a year.


According to Lambert Tegenbosch, Charlotte van Pallandt “with this early image, she anticipated what she would be able to do by several decades. The unusual quality of the torso recently made a young museum director say, when he saw the statue for the first time: 'For this torso, as far as I'm concerned, we can forget Arp's entire oeuvre.' Charlotte van Pallandt creates poetry such as Arp usually too emphatically aims at, as if by chance. What she meant was a study work. It became her first masterpiece.” The Tors was only cast for the first time at the Binder bronze foundry in 1974 on the initiative of Lambert Tegebosch.


“The Tors, 1930, has no style, it is not idealizing, not expressive, not personal – it is meaningless, but perfect. He is a study in form, traditionally academic in that sense, but inspired. The young sculptor has consciously given herself over to one particular task: the imitation of the model – what it has become is more of a gift.”


Charlotte van Pallandt had been a member of the Dutch Circle of Sculptors since 1930. At the outbreak of the Second World War she decided to return to the Netherlands. She moved into a studio in Amsterdam's Zomerdijkstraat. There she came into contact with fellow sculptors such as the Italian Dutchman Fred Carasso, Cor Hund, Paul Grégoire and Piet Esser. Her career would actually only begin after the war.


A few years before her death, Piet Esser called her “the last of the great Mohicans”. Certainly in the Netherlands, but according to Esser also in Europe, Charlotte van Pallandt was at a lonely height as a sculptor at that time. This does not mean that her career has always gone smoothly. Perhaps more than others, Van Pallandt had to fight for her position in the visual arts.


The quality of her work is beyond dispute, but from the beginning of her career until her death in 1997, she always made her own plans in the closed world of her studio. As the “last of the great Mohicans” she therefore did not complete school.


One of the few artists who continues Van Pallandt's tradition today is Eja Siepman van den Berg. In 1978, Eja Siepman van den Berg was the first winner of the Charlotte van Pallandt Prize. Peter Struycken, conceptual artist and a good friend of Van Pallandt, described her work as “art that is constantly inspired by visible reality, by the tradition of looking and making art itself, and in this way creates a permanently changing view of the world.” Gallery owner Lambert Tegenbosch, the Van Pallandt expert par excellence, comes to a similar conclusion: “Van Pallandt's contribution cannot be found in the domain of avant-garde formal research. Her place is in a tradition that appears to be renewed by a visionary individual.” Due to the special relationship between Charlotte van Pallandt and Eja Siepman van den Berg, the Tors is exhibited at the Villa Hinkeloord location.




1930, brons 83 x 45 x 27 cm