The blossoming of spring, the surprise of fresh life: This is the feeling that overtakes Ella Fitzgerald in her song, April in Paris, which mirrors how co-founder Maurice van Valen felt with his first glimpse of the art world. At the age of fifteen, he had his first visit, by chance, to an art gallery. Looking around, what he found surprised him: an unfamiliar but exciting universe. Moved by what he saw, he left that day with a work by the Dutch artist Corneille under his arm, the first of many acquisitions. The name of this work: April in Paris.
That day was the beginning of a collection that would culminate to be April in Paris. For Maurice, art became a window to a worldview that starkly contrasted with that of his upbringing. It was an arena in which his sharp senses were not just beneficial, but crucial. He began buying art intuitively, learning from artists and museum professionals he befriended along the way. His career brought him to the United States and the United Kingdom, expanding his network further.
It was through the art world Maurice met his future wife, the artist Evi Vingerling, with whom he would found April in Paris. Evi is an artist who has taught at several art academies and whose work is in the possession of numerous corporate collections and contemporary art museums. When young, her family immigrated to the United States where she grew up. Evi spent the beginnings of her artistic career between the United States and the Netherlands, when she eventually met Maurice in Amsterdam.
It is the joined vision of Maurice and Evi that forms the basis of April in Paris. Often poetic, sharp, and intelligent, the collection of works presents a warm and dreamy color palette. The collection reflects an interest in the dialogue between current and historical art, particularly, how one can shape the perspective of the other. The historic can enrich our understanding of the contemporary, and the contemporary can likewise demonstrate the continued relevance of the historic.
The result is a commercial art space focused on creating an engaging and playful trans-historical dialogue. Its activities range from making exhibitions (both physical and online), art dealing and developing special projects with artists. April in Paris aims to be a dynamic, accessible, and interactive space. The historical works, in particular, are by artists not commonly known in the Netherlands. In addition to exhibitions, there are informal lectures, artists’ talks and the opportunity for a private viewing, all of which act as a catalyst for conversation and exchange. Furthermore, April in Paris is keen to give art dealing the required attention and respect, and focuses on carefully selecting, researching, restoring, and presenting the historical part of the collection with care.
In addition to the exhibition venue, April in Paris hosts online exhibitions, shown within their unique digital viewing rooms, accompanied by further information on the works, artists, articles, video tours, artist interviews, historical source materials and additional content.