It’s time, says the sundial
After 14 years, Micky Hoogendijk is returning to Amsterdam, the city of her birth. She has found a new home for her gallery and studio in Huize Zonnewijzer on Valeriusplein. Along with garden designer Erwin Stam she is giving this grand house built in 1919 a contemporary new purpose, transforming the indoor and outdoor space into an art salon, and enhancing the architectural importance of this urban villa. The Ones at Home will be the next chapter in the history of Huize Zonnewijzer, bringing together art and nature. Hoogendijk’s sculptures, Stam’s garden design and the Amsterdam School architecture of the house will give visitors a comprehensive aesthetic experience, created to prompt a sense of familiarity and coming home.
On the corner of Valeriusplein and De Lairessestraat in Amsterdam is a house built for a headteacher in 1919. Its name is Huize Zonnewijzer (which means ‘Sundial House’) and it was designed by architect Jan Baanders. It was the home of Dr. C.P. Gunning, the founder and first headmaster of the neighboring Amsterdam Lyceum, also designed by Jan Baanders, along with his brother Herman, who together ran the influential Baanders architectural practice. Huize Zonnewijzer – now a protected historic building – is steeped in the expressive style of the Amsterdam School and features the taut lines typical of Frank Lloyd Wright’s work. The residence consists of a bel étage and an upper floor, and it has an asymmetrical silhouette. It was built in dark-brown brick, has a striking cornice and distinctive rows of windows. On the south side there is a balcony and on the ground floor several doors open onto the terrace of the walled garden. In the southwest corner, just above the garden wall, there is a sundial, which once bore an inscription meaning “I count only the sunny hours”, a translation of the Latin “Horas non numero nisi serenas”. It is an inscription commonly found on sundials.
Educator and classicist Christiaan Pieter Gunning and his wife Sara Elizabeth Lulofs moved into the house in 1919. The Amsterdam Lyceum bordered on their back garden. Gunning, a passionate and engaged teacher who was a humanist and Christian, emphasized the importance of character-building. He resisted the German occupying forces when his Jewish students were sent away, and destroyed the interior of Huize Zonnewijzer when the Germans commandeered it, so they would not be able to use it. After Gunning left his post as headteacher in 1952 the upper floor of his house stood empty for some time, and the ground floor housed the school’s library. From 1985 to 2019 Huize Zonnewijzer, with nine rooms and a floor area of 330 square meters, was occupied by headteacher Roel Schoonveld. Now, four years on, it is to be used for a new purpose.
Everything came together for Micky Hoogendijk when she first visited Huize Zonnewijzer, just round the corner from the house where she was born. She found both past and future in this house built over a hundred years ago. People had laughed and cried here, acted and dreamed, there was talk and silence. The hand of the architect, the vision of the headmaster, and the longing of the students all combined with Hoogendijk’s desire to create an inspirational salon. This would be her new home, her new studio and gallery. The sundial indicated that it was time.
Hoogendijk moved from Hoogeloon to Amsterdam in spring 2023, from the tranquil paradise of the Kempen region of Brabant to the bewitching chaos of the city where she was born. Hoogeloon was an intermediate stop which she needed after spending many years abroad. The silence of nature was healing and liberating, and allowed new work to develop: The Ones, a series of bronze sculptures that symbolizes the connection between people. Making connection is essential for Hoogendijk, and a prerequisite for progress, even if keeping hold sometimes means letting go. Her departure from Hoogeloon has now opened up new horizons.
Stam & Hoogendijk
Hoogendijk regards the opportunity to live and work at Huize Zonnewijzer as an ode to imagination and to history. She will make the house her home, and the garden her oasis. But she also wants to share the power and beauty of this place. Her quest for connection brought her to garden designer Erwin Stam. The central focus of his designs is the experience of the user, just as Hoogendijk is concerned with evoking emotion in her viewers. Both make beautiful things that touch and connect people. They have managed to create an environment for themselves where they feel happy and secure. They are joining forces at Huize Zonnewijzer in order to allow others to experience the same thing, with the idea that, if you surround yourself with people and things you cherish, you will feel at home.
Erwin Stam Garden Studio has developed the garden of Huize Zonnewijzer into an external exhibition space for Hoogendijk’s sculptures. The walled courtyard is a little paradise, where specially chosen trees, plants and flowers, the sound of water and – once the sun disappears – a special lighting plan provide context for The Ones. This opens up a vista to a different reality, where the hustle and bustle of the city seems far away, a new world that both grows and remains the same. The indoor and outdoor gallery, which can only be visited by appointment, embraces visitors, and the unique interaction between art and nature inspires contemplation and awe. A Poem between Art & Garden.
The Ones at Home
The 18th-century French philosopher Voltaire, when he said “Il faut cultiver son jardin” pointed to the need to devote attention to oneself, just as a garden grows and flourishes only with care and attention. To Stam, a garden is a metaphor for people, just as The Ones are for Hoogendijk. The stylized figures represent her ideas about individual strength and, more especially, about the invisible dynamics between people. The Ones describe both a personal and a communal life process. Hoogendijk depicts herself in The Ones, in order also to depict the other, based on the idea that all people are equal, alike, one. For however different we all appear to be, however varied in terms of our appearance, background and opinions, ultimately we all experience the same feelings. The Ones represent humankind, and therefore all people.
The centerpiece in the garden at Huize Zonnewijzer is the four-meter tall The Ones No. I – XXL, an enlarged version of the first sculpture that Hoogendijk made in 2020. It will be shown at The Biennial Contemporary Art Exhibition Personal Structures in Venice in 2024. The group of abstract human figures allows room for the viewer to become part of the work. Hoogendijk hopes this will lead to immersive encounters, as viewers become one with the work. For her, ultimately it is not about what you see, but about what you do not see: what you feel, in other words. And that is precisely what Stam aims for, too. While Hoogendijk’s sculptures invite introspection, he manages to make the outside inside. Together, they are transforming the interior and exterior of Huize Zonnewijzer into an exclusive art salon where creative spirits can come together and encourage each other to embrace new dreams. And where only the sunny hours are counted.
BY APPOINTMENT ONLY
By appointment only / Individual visits: Submit your visit request here.
Micky Hoogendijk would be delighted to welcome you to The Ones at Home Gallery. To make sure your visit is exclusive, she invites you to make an appointment using the link here, and to indicate which work you are interested in.
By appointment only / Group visits: Submit your visit request here.
You may also visit The Ones at Home Gallery with a group. Use the link here to make an appointment for a special event at which Micky Hoogendijk will give you an exclusive tour of the indoor and outdoor gallery, and talk about her work. Belmont Events can also arrange a lunch, dinner or drinks event.