b. 1925 Middelburg - d. 1991 Amsterdam, The Netherlands


In 1958 Joost Baljeu, a constructivist, founded the journal STRUCTURE based on the principles and ideas of De Stijl and Bauhaus. Charles Biederman, Carlos Cairoli, Ad Dekkers, Jean Gorin, Anthony Hill, Carel Visser and Gillian Wise all found through the journal common ground in the theories and principles of their predecessors a few decades earlier and became known as the Structurists. In STRUCTURE an intellectual platform was created where discussions were held and theories explored on abstraction and nature, art and science, the painting and the relief, architecture and sculpture.


Baljeu came to geometrical abstraction in 1954 thanks to the encouragement of Friederich Vordemberge-Gildewart who was his first master. But it was the British artist Anthony Hill who convinced him the following year to abandon flat painting to elaborate works in relief. Baljeu was very preoccupied with the spatial functions of colour, playing with the superimposition in staggered rhythms of coloured planes alternating with white planes that counterbalance the effects. The question of the role of colour in architecture, arousing many theoretical debates between artists, prompted Baljeu at several moments in his career, to emphasise the purity and simplicity of white.


With the Structurists, Baljeu participated in the travelling exhibition Experiment in Constructie at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam in 1962 as well as Relief / Construction /Relief, which was inaugurated in 1968 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and in 1979 The Evolution of the Constructed Relief 1937-1979, which travelled to Canada and the United States. Solo exhibitions include The Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, 1979 and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 1991. From 1957 to 1972 he was a professor at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague.