Robbert Fortgens

Netherlands 1960

Photography, Painting

Robbert Fortgens
Robbert Fortgens
July 1, 2016

A drastic change in the approach is sometimes required in order to show the hidden, but true potential. Robbert Fortgens is a Dutch artist who’s revolutionized his style, moving from the realistic fine art of painting to devoting himself to the expressionistic way of painting, often going even further, engulfing his work in abstraction. It was a rapid and dramatic change, but it opened a world of possibilities for the artist to paint what he had always wanted to show. Even more, it allowed him to mix the painting with another passion of his – photography, creating unique looking pieces of art.

Robbert Fortgens - Sleeping Girl, 2014, media, 2016, home, cookies, auction, price, news
Robbert Fortgens – Sleeping Girl, 2014

Robbert Fortgens – A Radical Change

Seeing the work of Willem de Kooning at the Museum in Amsterdam in 1988 opened a new chapter in the artistic career of Robbert Fortgens. Recognizing how de Kooning surrendered himself to painting, creating highly personal and subjective view of the matters around him, forging a direct connection with whatever he painted, carefully choosing the paint – all of it was at odds with the Fortgens’ meticulous painting technique at the time. On one side, there was the photographic realism with its strong emphasis on the exact reproduction of the image motifs, and on the other, the famous abstract expressionism and de Kooning as one of its most prominent representatives, with the recognizable surrender to the painter gesture and the material being handled. So, quite suddenly, the artist made a rigorous choice of moving away from the fine figurative painting to the non-figurative expressionism. But Fortgens managed to merge the two extremes. Since his fine painting couldn’t provide the satisfaction and continue to fuel his inspiration, he had to introduce an imagination of reality, as felt by him, and he turned to the abstract expressionist image. Even so, Fortgens wasn’t completely satisfied and had to come to a new interplay of the two extremes, this time through another field of art.

After seeing de Kooning’s work, Robbert Fortgens made a dramatic change in his approach

Robbert Fortgens - Looking at You, 2014
Robbert Fortgens – Looking at You, 2014

Old/New Passion

Besides painting, photography has long been Fortgens’ passion. This is not incomprehensible, comparing the important feature of photography – recording the reality, with the artist’s former mastery of the fine art of painting. In order to avoid the existence of unequivocal reality, the photography as a medium must be more than an objective view of the perceived reality. Fortgens brings both disciplines together, painting and photography, and connects them through his art. The possibilities and implications of lens, light and shutter speed, brush, brush and palette knife, build the plane through various materials and processes, creating unlimited possibilities for expression. Sometimes the photographic element will have an upper hand and sometimes the photographic elements and painted canvas will be placed next to each other, equally important. Whatever the choice is, there is no doubt that painting and photography go so in a sense intertwined, but remain at the same time as two peculiarities standing side by side. The photographed images and the painted compositions seem to answer or question each other, entering a dialogue with each other while maintaining their individuality and distinctive features. Through this method, Fortgens achieved the synthesis that provides literally a layered view of reality – a reality that constantly presents itself to the artist, every single day, everywhere.

The artist unites painting and photography

Robbert Fortgens - Lonely Place, 2015 (Left) - Lonely Place 2, 2015 (Right)
Robbert Fortgens – Lonely Place, 2015 (Left) – Lonely Place 2, 2015 (Right)


Robbert Fortgens has been painting since the age of 13. After high school, he studied at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam Field and was taught in subsequent years by Solomon Meir. During these years he became familiarized with various painting techniques and learned the craft of fine painting. He started working independently as a professional artist after studies, and he has since been exhibiting throughout the Netherlands. Fortgens is a versatile artist, whose artworks are included in many corporate and private collections, thus making him one of the famous painters in his country.

He is represented by Galerie Hegemann.

Robbert Fortgens lives and works in Amsterdam.

Featured image: Robbert Fortgens – Portrait of the artist with his artwork
All images courtesy of the artist

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2015Robbert Fortgens - Eye LevelGalerie Schoots + Van Duyse, AntwerpSolo
2014Robbert Fortgens - ReflexionsGalerie Schoots + Van Duyse, AntwerpSolo
2013Robbert Fortgens - ReflexionsProject 2.0 Gallery, The HagueSolo
2011Robbert Fortgens - VerbindingProject 2.0 Gallery, The HagueSolo
2015Nieuwe AanwinstenGalerie Schoots + Van Duyse, AntwerpGroup
201540 Jahre Galerie Moderne/Teil 2Galerie Moderne, Bad ZwischenahnGroup
2015AccrosageGalerie Schoots + Van Duyse, AntwerpGroup
2015Bilder und Plastiken aus 40 JahrenGalerie Moderne, Bad ZwischenahnGroup
2015AccrossageGalerie Schoots + Van Duyse, AntwerpGroup
2014After LXRYProject 2.0 Gallery, The HagueGroup
2014ChoicesGalerie Schoots + Van Duyse, AntwerpGroup
2013ConfrontationGalerie Schoots + Van Duyse, AntwerpGroup
2013High/Lights IIGalerie Schoots + Van Duyse, AntwerpGroup
2013Black And WhiteGalerie Schoots + Van Duyse, AntwerpGroup
2012Mag By Post + GarciaGalerie Post + Garcia, MaastrichtGroup
2012Heden En VerledenGalerie Schoots + Van Duyse, AntwerpGroup
2012In Het NoorderlichtGalerie Schoots + Van Duyse, AntwerpGroup
2010Rolf Bergmeier, Robbert Fortgens en Ed DukkersAnderwereld Galerie, GroningenGroup
2011Robbert FortgensGalerie moderne Bad Zwichenheim, GermanySolo
2011UnknownKunst-antiek - Josart UtrechtGroup
2011UnknownAAF - Project 2.o AmsterdamGroup
2011UnknownARTSPOT-Partofart AmsterdamGroup
2011Robbert FortgensMorren gallery UtrechtSolo
2011Robbert FortgensGaleria Joan planellas Tossa, SpainSolo
2011Robbert Fortgensproject 2.0 den HaagSolo
2011Robbert FortgensIB Isabel Bilbao Galerie Moraira, SpainSolo
2010Robbert FortgensJos Art, Amsterdam, NetherlandsSolo
2010Robbert FortgensGalerie Anderwereld, Groningen, NetherlandsSolo
2010Robbert FortgensHouses of Art Marbella, Marbella, SpainSolo
2010Robbert FortgensGallery Schortgen, Luxembourg, LuxembourgSolo
2010Robbert FortgensGalerie Utrecht, Utrecht, NetherlandsSolo
2010Robbert FortgensGalerie Lamber, Valkenswaard, NetherlandsSolo
2009UnknownGalerie post+garcia Maastricht, NetherlandsGroup
2009Robbert FortgensGallery Schortgen, Luxembourg, LuxembourgSolo
2009Robbert FortgensIB Gallery Berlin, GermanySolo
2009Robbert Fortgens Toledo, SpainSolo
2009UnknownJos Art Amsterdam, NetherlandsGroup
2009Robbert Fortgensproject 2.0 Den Haag, NetherlandsSolo
2008Robbert FortgensGalerie Trace Maastricht, NetherlandsSolo
2008Robbert FortgensGalerie Lamber Valkenswaard NederalndSolo
2008Robbert FortgensGalerie Schortgen Luxenbourg LuxenbourgSolo
2008Robbert FortgensNovanta Nove Amsterdam, NetherlandsSolo
2008Robbert FortgensMas Oliver Barcelona, SpainSolo
2008Robbert FortgensIB Galeria Berlijn, GermanySolo
2008Robbert FortgensCannes Frankrijk/Dans le ciel MouginsSolo
2008Robbert FortgensDelfiform Zwolle, NetherlandsSolo
2008Robbert FortgensJos art Amsterdam, NetherlandsSolo
2007UnknownArt Madrid Madrid, SpainGroup
2007Robbert FortgensGalerie Lamber Valkenswaard, NetherlandsSolo
2007Robbert FortgensMAC Aalsmeer Aalsmeer, NetherlandsSolo
2007Robbert FortgensDelfi Form Zwolle, NetherlandsSolo
2007Robbert FortgensIsabel Bilbao Javea, Valencia, SpainSolo
2007UnknownNovanta nove Amsterdam, NetherlandsGroup
2007Robbert FortgensGalerie Annee, Haarlem, NetherlandsSolo
2007UnknownArt Miami Miami U.S.A.Group
2007UnknownIB Galeria Berlin, GermanyGroup
2006Robbert FortgensSchortgen Gallery Esch LuxenbourgSolo
2006Robbert FortgensMontserrat Costa, Barcelona SpainSolo
2006Robbert FortgensGalerie Annee, Haarlem, NetherlandsSolo
2006UnknownHaf Den, Haag, NetherlandsGroup
2006UnknownArt Madrid, Madrid, SpainGroup
2006UnknownArt Miami, Miami, U.S.A.Group