"What The Critics Say" -- about the work of the late Henri van Bentum, Artist


Henri van Bentum at work on a "Spatial Rhythm" watercolour, Arizona, 2015

“His microscopic attention to detail comes out most strongly in evocations of coral seen through the luminous waters of tropical seas, and in the textures of rock and ice caught in the suffused light of underground caverns.” TIME Magazine

“The best one-man show of abstract art I have seen in a long time is that of watercolours by Henri van Bentum. While too many artists seem to torture watercolour for expression, van Bentum exploits the natural delight of the medium so that it serves his most exacting thought.” Globe & Mail

“Henri van Bentum’s series of work, “Spatial Rhythms”, reflects his development into a controlled, simple interpretation of inner feelings; this series of paintings interprets the elements of music such as volume, mood and rhythm and are translated into tonality, colour and composition." Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, Banff, Alberta

"When he marshals his colour into circles, then places them like water drops on the white canvas, van Bentum gets a rich intricacy of light and depth. Some have jewel facets, while others contain the subtleties of earth, leaves and bark". Globe & Mail

“Viewing a painting by Henri van Bentum is a stimulus to the imagination. Perhaps his background as a diamond-faceter’s son is responsible for the almost crystalline aspect of his work. The single most extraordinary quality in all his paintings is an incredible luminosity, a radiance that emanates from within.

Completely introspective in his work, van Bentum is probably a born abstract painter. J.W.G. ("Jock") Macdonald, with whom he studied, was one of the first to encourage van Bentum to develop his individuality, and it is certainly under Macdonald’s influence that he achieved his present independence. van Bentum uses blank space as a positive. The missing element is essential to the whole. While none of his current work depicts any recognizable object, it immediately conjures up a mental word picture of a time, space, melody or situation”. Canadian Interiors



A Blue Light Prayer for the Colour Master Henri van Bentum

To the valiant, steadfast and compassionate (*),
venerable Henri van Bentum

Who sailed the waves of his incarnation so skillfully,

With the blessings of White Tara through space and time.

Having drunk the amrita of samsara and nirvana equally,

Drawn the primary brushes of eternity

Of red, yellow and blue, painting Truth of the organic universe,

Unfettered by the limits of word.

So generously, you imparted your Leo heart stories,

And 'Apologue stories' for all ages throughout the lands and seas.

Sharing, always sharing freely,

Delivered unhindered from the Great River,

Ever having danced with the Light.

May His Noble Heart continue to emanate

Unceasing waves of pure Wisdom and Compassion.

Having laid down his precious body

May the Protectors and Guardian Dakinis

Guard this Non-Sectarian Master,

On the Path that conquers all arising mind states

And leads to Total Liberation and Victory.

E Ma Ho!

Mandala #3 from set of #100, "Organiverse"
Pointillism, original size 8.5 cm. by Henri van Bentum, 1972

(*) Motto on the City of Amsterdam's coat of arms, Heldhaftig, Vastberaden, Barmhartig, qualities which Henri embodied.