‘My wife and I had already agreed that the watercolor that Marlene Dumas made of me at the time of Documenta would be my obituary image. (…) At that time twenty years ago, Marlene comprehended me already: on the one hand, a 16-year-old boy, on the other hand, a man with a turbulent life behind him. And the melancholy … Twenty years ago – and she saw it.’
This book draws a portrait of the ‘art pope’ Jan Hoet (1936-2014), who passed away still rather abruptly at the age of 77 in the last week of February 2014. Beyond the many short media appearances in recent years this book presents a thorough and versatile presentation of Hoet. It shows above all how much art can do for a lifetime, his life. Uninhibited he talks about his childhood, where art played an important role, his parents, his education with the Jesuits, the many contradictions that characterized him, his unstoppable passion, his vanity and his weaknesses.
With his death an ardent advocate for contemporary art has left us. Jan Hoet gives an excellent insight look into the complex figure Jan Hoet.
I now imagine the watercolor of Marlene Dumas as his poetic and sad goodbye to art and to life.
N.B. At the funeral ceremony on Wednesday 5 March 2014, Dumas’s image of Jan Hoet was distributed amongst the attendees.