New Series ‘The Alchemy of Dreams’

May 2022 – October 2023

Essay written by Ad Himmelreich

Ad Himmelreich is a former conservator of the Bonnefanten museum, Maastricht, NL


With the international art magazine Al-Tiba9


Part of the online exhibition ‘Beyond Utopia: Visions of a Perfect World’ by Contemporary Art Collectors


With Contemporary Art Collectors

Solo exhibition

‘Salon des Arts’, Maastricht (NL), 11 March – 1 May, 2023, installation view

Solo exhibition

‘Salon des Arts’, Maastricht (NL), 11 March – 1 May, 2023,   opening view

Series ‘Stories of Transition’

October 2020 – April 2022

The Mystery of the Soul

2019 / Oil on linen / 140 x 400 x 2,5 cm (Diptych)

The Walk of Life

2019 – 2020 / Oil on linen / 140 x 140 x 4,5 cm

The Battle Between Good and Evil

2017 – 2018 / Oil on linen / 140 x 200 x 2,5 cm

Artist Statement

Robert van de Graaf (b. 1983, the Netherlands) is interested in the connections and relations between the mystical in this world, in all its manifestations (the sea, the sky, nature, human built environments, light and darkness), and the sense and the dimension of the spiritual world and our soul. 

In his exploration he is seeking the mystical hidden in this world which he translates into metaphorical paintings. The works express a complex interplay of visual impressions combined with emotional and spiritual reflection. Each piece gives substance to his ongoing personal journey to seek meaning in life.

With his work Van de Graaf questions human destiny and how we as human beings can develop ourselves and grow on a spiritual level. He wishes his artworks to stimulate an opening towards personal deepening, both for himself and the viewer. The artworks aim to elicit a gaze back at the viewer, a reflection of feelings, crossing the line from observation to introspection.

Van de Graaf draws his inspiration from religious and spiritual stories, mythology, mystical places and the philosophy of life. He transforms his inspiration into contemporary interpretations while richly referring to artists through all times of art history such as Caspar David Friedrich, Anselm Kiefer, Joan Mitchell and the old masters.

Though primarily working on his oil paintings, he is also using drawings and watercolours during the creation process. The oil paintings are layered, densely merging his diverse range of mark making, the expressive use of colour and studied compositions. His mark making, using brushes and palette knives, is moving from energetic gestural marks to precisely observed very delicate ones throughout the different stages of the work process. The paintings are often large in scale and balance between the figurative and the abstract, giving a certain freedom to the viewer.

Van de Graaf received a Master of Science (MSc) degree in Architecture (Technical University Delft) in 2009. At an early age he enjoyed an intense private painting and drawing training (1996 – 2001) by the Dutch artist Erica Meyster (1949 – 2006).

Van de Graaf experiences the process of creating as freedom, inner battles and faith.

Robert van de Graaf


INTERVIEW, with the international art magazine Al-Tiba9

INTERVIEW, with the international art magazine Al-Tiba9

The artists are interviewed by Mohamed Benhadj, the founder & curator of Al-Tiba9, to highlight their artistic careers and introduce them to the international contemporary art scene across our vast network of museums, galleries, art professionals, art dealers, collectors, and art lovers across the globe.