Paul Van Hoeydonck: Bonshommes et Boîtes à Monocles 1960-1961

Abstract geometric works from the mid-fifties were followed by monochrome lightworks of the late fifties and early sixties. Around that time I made a series of what I called “Bonshommes” and a series of “Boîtes à Monocles”. The Bonshommes were the origins of the later robots, inspired by different objects I found at random during my working hours at my second job at the Antwerp harbour. Driftwood, scrap, rusted iron etc..., were most welcome for my work.


I exhibited the Bonshommes and Boîtes à Monocles for the first time in a Brussels Gallery in 1961. As usual, they were very badly received by the critics. They resented my making use again of the human, or quasi-human figure, a taboo having being cast upon representative works at that moment. Why did I use figures after having created very puristic white on white monochromes?


Paul Van Hoeydonck