Anton Rooskens Biography

Anton Rooskens




Painter, and printmaker Anton Rooskens was born in Griendtsveen, Netherlands, on March 16, 1906. Though he attended the Venlo Technical School (1924 - 1934), he did not pursue a formal art education but rather taught himself how to paint. Among his early influences were Jan Sluijters, Flemish Expressionist Constant Peremke, and Vincent van Gogh, who inspired Rooskens' use of color and textural brush strokes, primarily when painting landscapes, still lifes, and interior scenes.

After the end of World War II Rooskens attended the Rijksmuseum's "Kunst en Vrijheid" ("Art and Freedom") exhibition in Amsterdam. There, he saw for the first time the scultpure and traditional masks of African and New Guinea tribes. This greatly altered his stylistic path, leading to simplified, bold, heavy lines and fields of color using minimal strokes. It was also around this time that he was introduced to artists Karel Appel, Eugene Brant, and Corneille, with whom he founded the CoBrA art group in 1948. Rooskens remained active with the group through their first exhibition in at the Stedelijk Museum in 1949. 

In the 1950s Rooskens traveled to Kenya, Uganda, and the Belgian Congo (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), and his work delved even further into minimalism, with a limited palette and a focus on non-representational compositions that expounded on his use of bold lines and the contrast between light and dark. It wasn't until the 1960s that his work revisited figurative and representational themes in Abstract, which proved to be the final evolution of his style and a return to his early Abstraction with the CoBrA group. He taught at the Don Bosco School in Amsterdam and continued to exhibit throughout Europe. Rooskens died in Amsterdam on February 28, 1976.

Rooskens is represented at the Stedelijk Museum and the Museum of Schiedman.