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The exhibition of Klaas Gubbels, Harrie Gerritz and Ilse Vermeulen in Skagen in the north of Denmark, gave rise to a nice destination: the famous Danish fishing village, which has long been an artistic name. The invitation of Harrie Gerritz for the opening of the exhibition in the M.galleri proved the prelude to an exciting day in the northern tip of Jutland. The M stands for Marin Karstensen, well known collector but also gallery owner with a passion for contemporary art. She has little with national borders. Her husband Knud, owner of Karstensen’s Skibsvaerf learned to build ships in Monnikendam while Marin was born in Iceland, hence perhaps their international orientation. Jenny Gerritz looked surprised when she saw us on the sunny courtyard of M.Galleri: a white stucco complex along the road to Kandested near Rabjerg Mile Camp, where we had stored our bivouac. Marin, who we already met the night before at her beautiful home on the Lundholmvej, actually looking at the gallery, had kept our arrival for themselves.
The friendly owner of M.galleri took us inside, where Harry Gerritz and Ilse Vermeulen – Klaas Gubbels was in France – were talking to Joan Court. The “second man” of the Dutch embassy would later open the exhibition with well-chosen words. Harrie was as surprised as his wife, seeing us. The work of the three Dutch artists – beautifully showcased in separate rooms around a common center part of the building – was enthusiastically received by the guests of M.galleri, judging by the animated conversation after the brief but powerful opening ceremony. Outside and inside it was a good place to be , with sun, wine and green beans. Meanwhile many guests got to talking with both artists about their beautiful paintings and sculptures.
In the far Skagen English appeared a good language, also at the dinner in the beautiful home of Marin and Knud Karstensen. There we might admire many colourful painings, and also nice a bronze sculpture of Harry Gerritz. During the dinner in honour of both artists, we experienced that art and hospitality go hand in hand. I tried to articulate our thanks and appreciation as a ‘mystery guest’ speaking about the long term friendship with modern art. What now remains are the memories of a special day, far from Nijmegen but near where friendship and connection with art and artists are concerned. That memory remains alive in some pictures of the opening ceremony. Probably the images speak for themselves, thanks to the protagonists: Marin Karstensen, embassy secretary Joan Coert, Harrie (and Jenny) Gerritz, Ilse Vermeulen and – absent but his paintings are there – Klaas Gubbels: three well-known Dutch artists who for several weeks their were allowed to show their work in Denmark. Those who want to see a small slide show, click this link