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Lou Duysens

Lou Duysens
Lou Duysens
Duysens succeeded Scheffers in 1971 and, around 1980, oversaw a gradual process of educational innovation: teacher training became a standalone course along with, among others, monument design, graphic and publicity design, and so on. Up till then, becoming a teacher meant following a course within the academy then sitting a state exam in The Hague. In 1978 the TeHaTex department was established and trained students as teachers. The first TeHaTex students in Maastricht received their degree certificates in 1983. Mostly, the lessons in the fine arts and design were kept separate from the teachers’ own artistic practice. Sculptor Piet Killaars, who taught there from 1970 to 1986, was the first to take his students to his own studio.

From the 1960s in particular, most students were acutely aware of the rapid developments elsewhere, particularly in the Randstad area. Around 1970, other academies were getting rid of, or even destroying their old plaster collections. Only a very few were disposed of in Maastricht, which, in hindsight, is a good thing, because Maastricht now boasts the Netherlands’ largest collection of plaster models.

Meanwhile, former Limburg students based in Amsterdam were enjoying nationwide success, among them Ger Lataster, Jef Diederen, and Pieter Defesche. Regional influence was also enjoyed by rebellious artists such as the Artishock group, made up chiefly of former students of the Jan van Eyck, which came to prominence around 1966. Lei Molin was the key figure, and the last of the so-called ‘Amsterdam Limburgers’. So the traditional nature or otherwise of the teaching wasn't the only factor; more relevant than that was the lack of scope in Maastricht for young artists to develop and exhibit work. As late as 1978, former students including Fons Haagmans and Fons Lemmens organized a protest exhibition in the ‘Awwestiene’ (the Augustinian church where the Drawing School had started out), entitled ‘De Goede Kinderen’ (The Good Children), referring to the lack of opportunities to exhibit in their own city and region.

Developments in Limburg's cultural landscape in the 1980s prompted a further shift towards the fine arts and design. This mirrored changes in the immediate environment, such as provincial ambitions resulting in a more international outlook for the Bonnefanten and the provincial art event Trajecta, as well as the countermovement among artists involved in initiatives such as Het Bassin and Art Banana, all of whom maintained contact with like-minded artists in the Netherlands and far beyond.

Maastricht Institute of Arts