Nico Heilijgers

‘I use images from the everyday life and try to evoke endearing thoughts without sentiment, and hidden humor without a loud laugh.’


Nico Heilijgers (Utrecht, 1964) studied at the Minerva Academie in Groningen, where he was mainly taught by two artists: Matthijs Rölling (1943) and Diederik Kraaijpoel (1928). Being in control of technique became an important aspect of his work. The paintings of Heilijgers known for esthetic, harmony and atmosphere, in which the ungrasped and unnameable lifts the image above a simple representation.

The paintings of Heilijgers are strongly influenced by the traditional pictorial art when we talk about subject and elaboration. He isn’t affraid to occasionaly wink at art history by referring to prominent painters from history with his paintings. With his still life he uses subjects that characterize this genre, like: fresh lemons, curvy pomegranates and pharmacy bottles. The objects are being painted in a way in which they don’t directly matter as an object, but they do as color surfaces that stand on it’s own. Abstract values like shape, colour, rhytm and material eventualy determine the painting.


The last few years the compositions have been simplified by depicting less objects and big sections in the paintings are being left empty. In this way a tension in the painting is constructed. Also the use of colour is brighter and the appliance of it is in a looser and faster way.


Recently the artist also started with painting landscapes and cityscapes. We can roughly divide these into two groups. Firstly there are city- and streetscenes in which people and animals play an important role. Secondly there are images of landscapes which show ruins, archeological discoveries, etc. The landscapes are being painted as a still life by giving the lighting and surface an abstract approach. Through this you can see the admiration that Heilijgers has for the impressionists. For him the impressionists represent the essence of painting in the way they treat light and show this through colour.