Helena van der Kraan is confirmed dead at the age of 80.
Helena was best known as a Dutch artist and photographer.
Death was likely due to cancer.
Helena van der Kraan
Wim van Sinderen and Helena van der Kraan, Livetour Fotomuseum Den Haag, 2020.jpg
Wim van Sinderen and Helena van der Kraan (in the picture), Livetour Fotomuseum Den Haag, 2020
Helena Jirina Mazl

14 June 1940
Died14 June 2020
Known forPhotography, Sculptor
Notable work
Bear and Teddy project[1]
Helena van der Kraan-Maazel born Helena Jirina Mazl (Prague, Czechoslovakia, 14 June 1940 – Rotterdam, 14 June 2020) was a Czechoslovakian-born Dutch photographer and partner in the artist duo Axel en Helena van der Kraan.
1 Biography
2 Work
2.1 Axel en Helena van der Kraan
2.2 Series
2.3 The Artdealers
2.4 The Bear and Teddy project
3 Exhibitions, a selection
4 Publications
5 References
6 External links
Helena Jirina Maazel was born and raised in Prague in the former Czechoslovakia. She was educated at the Czech Technical University in Prague, and had started working as graphic artist and painter.
After the Prague Spring she decided to flee. In the Netherlands she continued her studies at Ateliers ’63, where she met here life companion Axel van der Kraan. Afterwards they continued to work together as the art duo Axel en Helena van der Kraan. They lived and worked together in Rotterdam since 1987. In 1989, they were awarded the Hendrik Chabot Award. In 1990, at the Museum Boymans Van Beuningen, there was a retrospective of their work with sculptors, drawings, and photography.
Helena van der Kraan-Maazel died 14 June 2020 (her 80th birthday) in Rotterdam from cancer. She was described as an artist, who "observed with a concerned look, who recorded her surroundings in noiseless portraits."
Axel en Helena van der Kraan
The Dutch artist Axel van der Kraan had started a sculptor. The both started working together making sculptors and installation art. Helena took it upon here to document these art projects in projects in photographs. This evolved into her own photographic art projects involving still life and portraits of people.
Helena van der Kraan created a number of remarkable series of portraits. In 1986 with the series Medewerkers (Staf Members) she took the picture of eighty employees of the Haags Gemeentemuseum, nowadays Kunstmuseum Den Haag.
In 1995 she pictured the 75 members of the Dutch Senate, the upper house of the States General, the legislature of the Netherlands. In those days the ties where prominent attributes. The Members of the Senate in the pictures where often a "little nervous."
The Artdealers
Another of her more famous work was the picture the Art dealers as Toef Jaeger (2020) describes it:
".... two men at a sink; one looks concentrated at a photo. He is clearly going to take his time, in his casual pose one foot is slightly back. In order not to balance, he leans his shoulder against the wall. The other man awaits judgment on the photo. There is a folder on the sink in front of them. No idea what else is in the folder, but based on the title you expect it to be more photos.
The great thing is not only that two observing men are observed here, but it is also the suggestion that the photo makes. It's about art, but why does it have to be at a washbasin at public toilets? And what is in the photo? If the art has to be exchanged in this way, it is either something that is not for everyone's eyes, or the volatility of selling a work of art has become something that you do right after washing your hands."
Livetour Fotomuseum, Helena van der Kraan, 2020
The Bear and Teddy project
In her youth Helena van der Kraan had evolved a special relation her teddy bear Bebbeba. She left him when she fled, but was reunited later on.
Later on in life she started photographing teddy bears similar to the way she had portrayed people. Over the years she photographed over two hundred teddy bears, who sometimes "appear proud and self-assured, sometimes fearful and melancholy, but they are always dignified." The teddy bears were often portrayed naked, sometimes wearing a worn jacket.
Exhibitions, a selection
2005. Fotomuseum Den Haag.
2020. Bear and Teddy, Fotomuseum Den Haag
Helena van der Kraan. Portretten/Portraits, Van Zoetendaal Publishers, 2020.I SBN 978-90-72532-43-5.
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