Exhibition — 9 Feb until 18 Aug 2019

Overview of the historical development of the oeuvre of Jacqueline de Jong in which she switches effortlessly between different styles: from expressionist painting to new figuration and pop art. The work of Jacqueline de Jong is presented in combination with works from the collection of the Stedelijk Museum.

Since the 1960s, the distinguished visual artist, designer and former employee of the Stedelijk Museum has evolved a versatile body of work. Pinball Wizard: The Work and Life of Jacqueline de Jong gives an overview of the historical development of this oeuvre in which she effortlessly switches between different styles: such as Abstract Expressionism, new figuration and Pop Art. Her work also ranges in scale, from small diptychs that chronicle a day in the life of the artist, to monumental canvases dominated by an absurd and often violent and erotic world. The show also highlights De Jong’s involvement in avant-garde networks inside and outside Europe, including the politically engaged Situationist International movement. The 13 exhibition spaces feature a selection of key works by De Jong and works from the Stedelijk collection, together with previously unseen archival material.

Jacqueline de Jong, “Off season,” 1986. Collection of the artist. Courtesy Dürst Britt & Mayhew, The Hague (NL) / Château Shatto, Los Angeles (US).
Jacqueline de Jong, “Off season,” 1986. Collection of the artist. Courtesy Dürst Britt & Mayhew, The Hague (NL) / Château Shatto, Los Angeles (US).

Relationship with the Stedelijk 

When director Willem Sandberg appoints Jacqueline de Jong as an assistant in the applied art department (1958-1960), it signals the beginning of an extraordinary relationship between the artist and the Stedelijk. It not only deepens her admiration of the museum’s collection but, as an artist with no formal art education, serves as a training ground for her own work. In light of which, the current exhibition—which presents her work in the company of artwork from the collection—is even more extraordinary. Like a true ‘Pinball Wizard’, the artist moves through the collection of the Stedelijk, placing her work alongside that of artists who are her inspiration and influence such as Vieira da Silva, Chaim Soutine, Jean Dubuffet, R.B. Kitai, Kazimir Malevich and Wassily Kandinsky. The result is a fusion of masterpieces by De Jong and previously unseen works, juxtaposed with key artworks from the holdings of the Stedelijk, supplemented by the artist’s drawings, artist’s books, designs and archival material.


The Stedelijk Museum believes in the importance of giving leading female artists a larger stage. This certainly applies to Jacqueline de Jong, also. We are extremely proud to be able to stage a major survey of her work. Especially now, when she is being discovered internationally by a new generation. Exploring the collection of the Stedelijk with her, in search of her networks and inspirations, was a unique experience. It sheds an entirely new perspective on the history of art in which, as of now, De Jong has secured her position.

— Exhibition curator Margriet Schavemaker

Avant-garde networks

Jacqueline de Jong operated within avant-garde networks in and outside of Europe in a quite unique fashion. From her initial encounters with artists like Germaine Richier and Vieira da Silva during adolescence, by virtue of her cosmopolitan parents who owned a notable collection of avant-garde art, to her participation in the Gruppe Spur and the International Situationists. De Jong made a name for herself with the journal The Situationist Times: a multi-disciplinary, quirky publication packed with photographic and drawn images devoted to wide-ranging themes such as the knot, the ring and the labyrinth. These ‘topologies’ are an alternative form of knowledge: a non-Euclidean system that functions within the realm of paradoxes, misunderstandings and contradictions. For today's viewer, the enormous ‘comparative’ image databases, which sometimes took De Jong months of research, are also a fascinating precursor of the internet. 

From the end of 1960 to 1971, Jacqueline de Jong was involved in a network of artists and graphic designers, and produced a number of posters including some created during the student revolt in Paris, in May 1968. She also initiated and organised Happenings with Jean-Jacques Lebel, and other events and exhibitions. De Jong has worked in the Netherlands and France since 1971.

Jacqueline de Jong, “Op de Queue nemen,” 1977. Collection of the artist. Courtesy Dürst Britt & Mayhew, The Hague (NL) / Château Shatto, Los Angeles (US).
Jacqueline de Jong, “Op de Queue nemen,” 1977. Collection of the artist. Courtesy Dürst Britt & Mayhew, The Hague (NL) / Château Shatto, Los Angeles (US).

Throughout the years, the work of Jacqueline de Jong has always been collected and followed but over recent decades, and particularly after the purchase of the De Jong archive by the Yale University Beinecke Library of Rare Books and Manuscripts in 2012, her work has gleaned considerable international attention. Recently, this materialised in exhibitions at venues in New York, Malmö, Toulouse and Paris, and in publications and acquisitions although, until now, her work has received little attention in the Netherlands.

Online Publication

The exhibition is accompanied by a number of longreads, a free audio tour and an interface through which you can browse The Situationist Times online and listen to commentary by Jacqueline de Jong. The interface is developed by the Scandinavian Institute for Computational Vandalism and published by Torpedo Press. Click on the links in the grid below to discover more.

Jacqueline de Jong, “Tournevicieux cosmonautique (les âmes les plus confuses se retrouvent un matin conditionés par un peu de pésanteur) (private life of cosmonauts),” 1966. Private collection. Courtesy of the artist.
Jacqueline de Jong, “Tournevicieux cosmonautique (les âmes les plus confuses se retrouvent un matin conditionés par un peu de pésanteur) (private life of cosmonauts),” 1966. Private collection. Courtesy of the artist.

Recent articles & interviews

In recent years the work and life of Jacqueline de Jong has been a frequent subject of interest. Since the acquisition of her archive by Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library in 2012, De Jong’s work has been shown in prestigious museums and galleries in the Netherlands and abroad. A selection of recent articles, interviews, and critiques published over the past few years is available to browse.
Go to overview

Guided Tours for groups

Visit the exhibition Pinball Wizard - The Work and Life or Jacqueline de Jong with a guided tour. The museum guide shows the works in its historical but also contemporary context.
More info

Extra

A large part of the monumental series of works entitled Upstairs Downstairs, made by Jacqueline de Jong for De Stopera in Amsterdam in 1986 will be on view in the re-hung exhibition Ruis! / Noise! (Frans Halsmuseum, Haarlem 2 Feb - 16 June 2019).

The exhibition Jacqueline de Jong – Pinball Wizard is supported by the Mondriaan Fund, which contributed to the artist’s wage through the Experimental Regulations.