Albert Zwaan CV

About Albert Zwaan

Albert Zwaan paints urban landscapes. Desolate-looking buildings, surrounded by a lush landscape or abstract, decorative patterns. Landscapes without any people in them. For Zwaan, painting is all about the proper proportions: the contrasts and harmonies between the various colours, the forms and use of paint are all reconsidered with every new canvas.

Zwaan has a striking palette in which soft, pastel shades are dominant. Colours reminiscent of cartoons, graffiti, and weathered paint in old shipyards. In Berlin he saw gray East German GDR flats that were painted over in pastel shades in an attempt to give them a softer look. Or maybe he simply uses these colours because he likes them.

While painting, Zwaan listens to electronic music: ambient, minimal, German avant-garde. Its energy perfectly matches his painting; he combines images the way a DJ samples sound fragments. He also draws from art history: the expressionist touch of Francesco Goya and El Greco, the resplendent clouds of Philip Koninck; they are mixed with stills from commercials, images from shop windows and logos.

In his teenage years, Zwaan used to be a graffiti artist. He felt at home at the abandoned marshalling yards with concrete sound walls, where he walked around at night with his bag of spray cans. Even now, as a painter, he has a sharp eye for the beauty of the city fringes. Albert Zwaan transforms the gritty post-industrial urban environment into a friendly coloured dream world.

By Albert Zwaan - 2014

I consider each new canvas as an experiment of painterly photoshopping. Cut, paste, scrape and spread within the subject ‘Urban Landscape’

Looking for opportunities to innovate and surprise myself both, in picture as in painterly terms.

Combinations of areas of the visual culture integrated into an urban landscape and a diverse selection of artistic acts of that time, ensure alienation and lead to a good painting at least that is my intention.

Some urban situations daily draw attention when I proceed through the streets or for example waiting on a platform.

Buildings with high architectural value don’t attract my attention, it’s actually the coherence of different buildings, the coherence of light, colour, nature and street furniture that interests me.

Combinations that give me a happy feeling because they offer me painterly possibilities and correspond with the sounds of electronic music and spatial dub vibes that I listen to (even while painting) through my headphones.

I often have a small camera in my pocket wherewith I inscribe nice situations and I travel over the internet through urban areas such as Tokyo, Singapore and the USA.

Through the years I've built up an impressive database of different subjects. Next to it I use my sketchbook in which I train my future painter actions, register my ideas and design my houses.

The last time I actually choose more and more drawings from the sketchbook as a subject because these drawings comes closer to my goal of this moment to serve the purpose, to bring more variation in paint matter and further transforming our recognizable, daily reality. Deforming as a matter of fact becomes increasingly more important in my paintings. I’m trying to create all the possibilities to enforce an unexpected suprising image of light, matter and expression. To finally bring a new image that we can consider as our daily reality.


1995-1999  Academy of Fine Arts Breda, Netherlands (cum laude)


De Scheffer (2003)

Rabobank Picturaprijs (2003)

Pictura- Publieksprijs (2004)

Koninklijke Prijs Voor Vrije Schilderkunst (2004 nomination)


Toekenning, Basisstipendium Fonds BKVB, (2005)

Artist in residence, CBK Dordrecht in de 'Kunstfabrik am Flußgraben' Berlijn Treptow


Deze werkperiode op eigen initiatief voortgezet t/m maart 2008

Toekenning, werkbeurs CBK Dordrecht 2008


2014 Art In Redlight Art Fair Amsterdam

2014 Circa’dit Arnhem (solo)

2014 Kasteel Keukenhof Art Foundation “De Hommage” (groeps.)

2014 Pictura Dordrecht “200 jaar schilderkunst 200 jaar koninkrijk” (groeps.)

2014 Galerie Witt Dordrecht (solo)

2014 SBK Dordrecht “Growing up in a small town” (groeps.)

2014 KIV22 (Baracca) "Fuck the 80's it is 2014" (groeps.)

2014 @ Art Rotterdam for “We Like Art” (groeps.)

2013 Kadmium Delft “Where Are We” (groeps.)

2013 Galerie Wegert & Sadocco “Urban Landscapes” (groeps.)

2013 Teekengenootschap Pictura “Ledensalon”

2013 Re: Rotterdam Artfair (solostand)

2012 Teekengenootschap Pictura “Ledensalon”

2012 Appels Gallery Amsterdam i.s.m “Art Initiative Verfhond” (groeps.)

2011 Galerie Ayacs “Winterparade” (groeps.)

2011 Museum De Koperen Knop Hardinxveld-Giesendam “Stad & Landschap” (groeps.)

2011 Galerie 14-16 Posthuys Texel-De Koog (solo)

2010 CBK Dordrecht “Tapetenwechsel/Blick Ohne Ende” (groeps.)

2010 Teekengenootschap Pictura “Ledensalon”

2010 Baracca Den Haag “Paint Or Death” Hoogtij#23″ (groeps.)

2010 Boven’s Gallery and Action House Amsterdam i.s.m Art Initiative verfhond “Verfzucht#4 

Painterly Intigue”

2010 CBK Groningen i.s.m SBK Amsterdam “Nieuwe Uitleenschatten” (groeps.)

2010 Galerie Ayacs “Summer Surprise” (groeps.)

2010 SBK Breda, Duotentoonstelling met Toon Berghahn

2010 Teekengenootschap Pictura “Stadslandschappen” (solo)

2009 Dek-22 Rotterdam “Canvas Rames” (groepen.)

2009 Galerie Ayacs “The Summerparade” (groeps.)

2009 Galerie Ayacs “Between Vision & Reality” duotentoonstelling met Nanna Lahn

2008 General Public Berlin “Im Blumengarten” duotentoonstelling met Onno Poiesz

2007 Galerie De Compagnie Dordrecht, duotentoonstelling met Wilma Keizer

2005 Dordrechts Museum, duotentoonstelling met Elspeth Diederix

2004 Koninklijk Paleis Amsterdam “Koninklijke Prijs Voor Vrije Schilderkunst” (nominatie)

2004 Teekengenootschap Pictura “Land-Escape” (groeps.)

2003 Galerie De Aanschouw Rotterdam “Overschilderschilderij”

2003 Dordrechts Museum “De Ary Schefferbeurs”

2002 Teekengenootschap Pictura “Bad City View” duotentoonstelling met Jean Pierre Zoetbrood

2002 CBK Dordrecht “aan het werk” (groeps.)


CBK Groningen

SBK Amsterdam

Dordrechts Museum

Heden Den Haag

Several private collections

New Green Mountain Museum

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