Student - June 6, 2019

Eppo Doeve exhibition at museum

Roelof Kleis

He came to Wageningen to study Colonial Agriculture, but his talent for drawing got the upper hand. Now Museum De Casteelse Poort is honouring Eppo Doeve with an exhibition.

© Museum De Casteelse Poort

The name Eppo Doeve (1907-1981) is unlikely to ring a bell with many people under 50. But in his time, he was one of the most famous illustrators in the Netherlands. And one whose career started in Wageningen. In 1927, at the age of 20, he came here from Bandung, West Java, to study Colonial Agriculture. A degree course he never finished.

Doeve joined Ceres, where his talent was soon put to good use. He illustrated the student magazine and the yearbook, and designed posters and stage sets. He was also a member of the Ceres band. Short of money after a trip to London to hear the American saxophonist Adrian Rollini, he applied for a job with the Amsterdam advertising agency De la Mar. He went on combining his artwork with his studies until 1932. Museum De Casteelse Poort is dedicating four rooms to an overview of the multifaceted work of the self-taught Doeve. He produced posters, book covers, political cartoons and a lot more besides. He worked for magazines such as De Groene Amsterdammer, Vrij Nederland, Elsevier and De Avro-bode. He also made large murals for companies and municipal councils.

eppo doeve2.jpg

One of the four rooms is devoted to Doeve’s Wageningen work. The eye-catcher here is an enormous poster that he designed (in 1938, long after his student days) for the performance of the play De Mallemolen by the Ceres Dramatic Society. The original notebooks that he used during lectures are also on display. In amongst the chemical formulae, Doeve drew lots of doodles and exercises. Besides drawing, Doeve painted too. The exhibition includes some fine examples of what he was capable of. A few of the paintings, including a portrait of his wife, are for sale, even. There is also some film footage of Doeve, thanks to the Institute for Image and Sound. The exhibition, ‘Eppo Doeve back in Wageningen’, runs until 20 October.