l’Homme de Tollund

24th of March 2015

L’Homme de Tollund (Tollund Man), a magnificent portfolio by Hugo Claus and Serge Vandercam, has recently enriched the Michel Wittock Fund. The Bibliotheca Wittockiana was able to purchase the work with help from the Heritage Fund.

In 1962, in a small local museum near Silkeborg (Denmark), Serge Vandercam discovered an extraordinarily well-preserved mummy. The body, discovered in a peat bog in 1950, was that of a Neolithic man who had been sacrificed some 2000 years earlier, which became known as Tollund Man.

Vandercam was absolutely fascinated by the remains and from that moment on they became part of his creative universe. It is thanks to Tollund Man that Serge Vandercam, who had until then been part of the informal painting movement, entered the world (which he then never left) of figuration. His work became the subject of an eponymous exhibition held at the Delta Gallery in Rotterdam in 1963. Vandercam’s friend Hugo Claus wrote a long poem for him to mark this occasion, telling the tragedy of a man who had been sacrificed and making the indissociable link between life, suffering and death to lead, finally, to re-birth.

In 1991, the Antwerp gallery De Zwarte Panter suggested to the two artists that they produce a magnificent portfolio in a limited edition of 60 examples. It is one of these that the Bibliotheca Wittockiana has just acquired to enrich the Michel Wittock Fund.

This large in-plano print (68 x 52 cm) is in a canvas case covered with a screen print created by the artist. The poem itself is printed in beautiful Gaudi typography and Vandercam created for the occasion 7 original screen prints that tell the story of Tollund Man, who was ritually strangled on the day of the summer solstice.