Purmerend removes nude portraits from town hall after complaints; Artist furious
The municipality of Purmerend decided to remove a series of nude portraits, painted of women from Beemster to mark the merger of the two municipalities, from its town hall. According to the municipality, it received several complaints that the paintings were offensive. Artist Jeroen Hermkens is furious, he told NH Nieuws.
“It’s mind-boggling,” Hermkens said to the broadcaster. “We have lost all the freedoms we fought for.” The Utrecht artist painted 14 Beemster women, focusing on the women’s natural beauty and the pureness of Beemster, he said.
He heard from his client in Beemster that his paintings are no longer welcome. “A kind of decency police from Purmerend determines what is and what is not allowed,” Hermkens said. According to him, the municipality wanted to remove a few paintings, “but then I immediately said: I will remove everything.” He’s had no further contact with the municipality.
GroenLinks city councilor Peter Zwart wrote to the mayor and aldermen about the matter, he told the local newspaper Rodi. He wants to know how many complaints it received and based on which criteria it decided which paintings had to go. He would also like to know who set those criteria.
The exhibition was on display in the town hall since November 7 and was scheduled to remain until December 10. Hermkens will now go get his paintings on Friday. According to him, the municipality wanted to decide “what would be supposedly offensive or not. Completely arbitrary, of course,” he said to RTL Nieuws.