press release

In early 2013, the Kunsthal will be presenting a comprehensive overview of graphic work by Jan Montyn (1924). The Dutch artist leads a restless life and is always on the lookout for excitement. In drawings, etches and mono prints, Montyn records his experiences during his many travels to North Africa and the Far East, and his work is an ode to love and to the landscape. Montyn writes probing reports about his experiences in the many wars he has been involved in. The exhibition focuses on three main themes: identity (the search), liberation (the hope for Vietnam and Cambodia) and space (travels, landscape). Every month, one special theme will be highlighted by changing the exhibited works. The exhibition, compiled from the collection of Rombout van Zwetselaar, marks the launch of the website This puts Jan Montyn's entire oeuvre in a wide framework.

The website includes all Jan Montyn’s graphic works, around 3000 etches and mono prints as well as 1000 of his many drawings. The individual works are linked by periods and themes from Montyn's own life. Moreover, specific information has been included on all the works; the website is a comprehensive database in which Montyn’s work has been documented in an accessible fashion. Visitors can search the database in many different ways. Owners of work by Montyn are asked to share any relevant information they have which is not yet on the website.

About Jan Montyn Following short periods working for the German military service and the UN forces in Korea, and as a museum curator in the Dutch army, Montyn settled in Amsterdam in 1957. There he led a life on the fringe and on the margins of art, becoming friends with Anton Heyboer, who taught him the technique of etching. He travelled a lot and spent most of his time in Southeast Asia, where he experienced the horrors of the Vietnam War in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. He travelled through Cambodia during the period of the Khmer Rouge, and he worked for Doctors without Borders (MSF) in Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar. Southeast Asia will always be his second home. He continued to draw during his travels; in his house in France, he dealt with his experiences through etching, using his own imagery and unique palette of colours.

Jan Montyn
Tolerance without Borders