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Ronald Noorman (1951–2018)

Ronald Noorman, a Dutch artist known for humble but commanding drawings that linger between the abstract and the figurative, died last month at the age of sixty-six. Born in 1951 in Hilversum, the Netherlands, Noorman studied painting at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam before becoming a draftsman. He exhibited his work widely, and his drawings—most of which are small and untitled—are in collections across the Netherlands, including those of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and the Teylers Museum in Haarlem.

While recognizable things recur in his earlier works of the 1980s—tourniquets and bones, for example—he eventually strove to strike, through abstract markings and patterns, a delicate balance between chaos and control. “I prefer to keep to the human dimension,” he once said of the scale of his works. “In small format, I have to concentrate on strength, monumentality, excitement, spatiality, speed.” In addition to drawing and making graphics that often accompanied text, Noorman was a collector of outsider art. In 2008, he organized an exhibition at the Galerie Hamer that included the work of André Prues and Alexis Lippstreu alongside his own.