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16 March 2022

Welcome Atelier Volten!

  • Exterior front. Front of Atelier Volten in the former Gatehouse of Asterdorp. Photo: Ivo Jeukens
  • Exterior rear. The Water artwork with seating elements is in the garden at the rear of the Gatehouse. This work used to be on Mercatorplein in Amsterdam-West, where in the summer the water flowed through the spiral from the inside to the outside. The model and the final work can be seen immediately from the studio. Photo: Ivo Jeukens
  • Interior overview top floor. The top floor of Atelier Volten is untouched. Volten made his designs here and there are still countless small models and scale models. Photo: Ivo Jeukens
  • Detail upper floor. Photo: Ivo Jeukens
  • Detail artwork. Model of the sculpture on the Minervalaan in Amsterdam-South. Photo: Ivo Jeukens
  • The Knot. Within walking distance of Atelier Volten, on the banks of the IJ, this statue is popularly called 'De Knoop' (knot). Photo: Amsterdam City Archives / Doriann Kransberg
  • André Volten. André Volten at work, 1956. Photo: Arno Hammacher
  • Interior overview ground floor. Interior of the ground floor exhibition space during the Kuijer / Volten exhibition in 2021. Photo: Rob Versluys
  • Exterior front. Front of Atelier Volten in the former Gatehouse of Asterdorp. Photo: Ivo Jeukens
  • Exterior rear. The Water artwork with seating elements is in the garden at the rear of the Gatehouse. This work used to be on Mercatorplein in Amsterdam-West, where in the summer the water flowed through the spiral from the inside to the outside. The model and the final work can be seen immediately from the studio. Photo: Ivo Jeukens
  • Interior overview top floor. The top floor of Atelier Volten is untouched. Volten made his designs here and there are still countless small models and scale models. Photo: Ivo Jeukens
  • Detail upper floor. Photo: Ivo Jeukens
  • Detail artwork. Model of the sculpture on the Minervalaan in Amsterdam-South. Photo: Ivo Jeukens
  • The Knot. Within walking distance of Atelier Volten, on the banks of the IJ, this statue is popularly called 'De Knoop' (knot). Photo: Amsterdam City Archives / Doriann Kransberg
  • André Volten. André Volten at work, 1956. Photo: Arno Hammacher
  • Interior overview ground floor. Interior of the ground floor exhibition space during the Kuijer / Volten exhibition in 2021. Photo: Rob Versluys

Studio home of visual artist André Volten in the Gatehouse in Amsterdam-North

Atelier Volten is the first artist's home in the Randstad region of The Netherlands to join Iconic Houses. Besides the world-famous architect's houses and hidden gems that are open to the public as house museum, Iconic Houses is also a collection of 20th century studios and houses of famous artists. The place where visual artist André Volten (1925-2002) lived and worked from 1950 until his death in 2002, was the Gatehouse of the former Asterdorp in Amsterdam-North.

André Volten
André Volten, a pioneer of geometric-abstract sculpture, is one of the most important artists in The Netherlands of the generation after the end of WWII in 1945. In addition to sculptures for interior spaces, Volten has created approximately 60 works in public space at home and abroad, 21 of which in Amsterdam. You can view his work along the banks of the IJ in Amsterdam, at the Sloterplas or in front of the Townhall/Opera House, aka 'Stopera', in Amsterdam, on the square in front of Lelystad Station, but also in the centre of Duisburg and at the Europäisches Patentamt in Munich, both in Germany.
From 1950 Volten started working as a welder at the NDSM shipyard in Amsterdam-North. Here he gains experience in processing steel. In addition to his work, he experiments with free forms. Volten develops from an abstract expressionist painter to a constructivist sculptor. His sculptures often become part of the environment; the relationship between artwork, space and spectator plays an important role for Volten.

History of the Gatehouse
Volten's studio home on Asterdwarsweg in Amsterdam-North has a fraught history as a social housing experiment, Jewish ghetto, and transit camp during the Second World War. It was built in 1926 as the gatehouse of Asterdorp, a so-called residential neighbourhood to re-educate antisocial families. In 1941 the last residents leave Asterdorp. Less than a year later, the village was taken into use by the German occupier to accommodate Jewish families. Above the gate, in the Gatehouse, is the classroom of the Jewish school. Slowly Asterdorp becomes quieter; some families are deported; others manage to go into hiding and some are forced to move to the Transvaalbuurt.
During the bombing raids by the Allies on the Fokker factories in Amsterdam-North in July 1943, Asterdorp was partially destroyed. Housing shortage means that the village is being renovated again. Due to the poor living conditions, it was finally decided in 1955 to demolish the village. André Volten was already using the Gatehouse as a studio home at that time.

Workshop Volten
It is thanks to the efforts of André Volten that the Gatehouse has been preserved. The building, designed by Johannes Hendrik Mulder Jr. of the Municipal Housing Service, has since been awarded the status of a municipal monument. A monument that also functions as a physical repository of Volten's work. Volten's workshops on the ground floor were renovated in 2014 by OTH architects, in collaboration with architect Trude Hooykaas, and expanded into exhibition space. The top floor where Volten made his designs, contains numerous small models and scale models of his major works and is untouched. In Atelier Volten, exhibitions are organized with Volten's work, whether in combination with contemporaries or colleagues who are inspired by Volten's work. The entire studio house is publicly accessible during opening hours.

The Young Volten
The exhibition 'The Young Volten' can be visited in Atelier Volten from April 10, in which Volten's development from abstract painter to constructivist sculptor is central. André Volten's paintings are combined with some wooden reliefs and a selection of Volten's earliest sculptures. The mutual relationship between the two- and three-dimensional work invites the viewer to look attentively. Many are familiar with Volten's later sculptures in public space, but few know how he got to his constructivist formal language. The exhibition makes this clear by showing successive phases in his artistic development. The exhibition can be seen in Atelier Volten from April 10 to October 30, 2022. Atelier Volten is open during exhibitions on Saturdays and Sundays from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM and by appointment for groups on Fridays between 1:00 PM and 5:00 PM.

Atelier Volten
Asterdwarsweg 10
1031 HR Amsterdam
www.andrevolten.nl

Text: Maartje de Roy van Zuydewijn, André Volten Foundation
Photography: Ivo Jeukens

Publication date 16 March 2022