Paintings by Thea van Doorn

Thea van Doorn (1947) is a contemporary Dutch artist, from Rotterdam. Her Figurative Expressionist Paintings are wonderfully large painted drawings depicting alienating scenes from our daily lives. Thea has been a successful painter and illustrator since the 1970's. The last decade Thea has been creating large paintings, with a drawn like quality. Her new works are available at Gallery Sorelle Sciarone exclusively.

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About the paintings of Thea van Doorn

Thea van Doorn as a child was always drawing, especially on cheap notepads – cosy houses, interiors, mothers, children, dogs and more. She did not feel like she excelled at school, except for Dutch, drawing, gymnastics and singing. Thea was not at all interested in becoming an artist. She did not grow up with art, except her own doodles. Her mother would spontaneously paint 'palm trees' on their large wall at home, much to her father's chagrin! But apart from these spontaneous moments of creation, art was not in their house. She left home at 17 because of ongoing tension. After a dramatic end to high school, she did all kinds of tedious jobs to afford rent, but she never stopped drawing.


Thea continued to draw, and when she met her now ex-husband, he advised her to enrol in the daily course of the Academy of Fine Arts in Rotterdam. In 1968 the Art Academy accepted her, which was special because of the lack of a high school diploma! Her scrapbook full of her drawings allowed her to do the entrance exams for the Academy.


After graduating in 1973, she had three children, yet she kept drawing every day. She drew friends and the children, her husband, the dog. Her children grew up with art in the house. "My kids thought it was all the most normal thing in the world, and I loved having them near me. They always played well or drew along."


During this time, she sometimes was commissioned, sold occasionally, but preferred creating works independently.

Over the years, she started working bigger and bigger, going from drawings to enormous paintings.


In 2005 Thea started to transition from drawings to creating a series of large abstract paintings exhibited in the WTC Art Gallery on the occasion of the presentation of her first book. The abstract work was a step outside her comfort zone and a challenge –to see how far she could go. After a few years of experimenting, she came back to figurative work. Her paintings incorporate elements of drawings, with strong outlines over her figures. Her paintings from 2008 onwards are large paintings of people and dogs.


Thea often works intuitively, staying close to her feelings, daring, not using photos. However, there are always people in her work; she describes not being able to escape having people in her work. 

She also draws very regularly at concerts, especially jazz and Brazilian music—both on the iPad and on paper. Nothing is better than making a quick drawing during a song. Later she selects the best sketches from the works.


In the evenings, she regularly works on her series 'Woman & Dog'. They are small drawings with brush and acrylic ink on acid-free cardboard – that is a kind of 'meditative' process.


In contrast to her drawings, Thea feels there is more peace in her large work. Thea attributes this to those works taking a long time to make. Thea says there is "Nothing better than the painting itself, it remains a struggle, but when there is progress, after a lot of looking, taking away and looking again, painting, there comes a time when you are almost satisfied, haha! – and the next day, it is disappointing again, in the end it is a long road!" 


"Sometimes, I see a fascinating painting at an exhibition, so delicious and well painted, so exciting, that I am afraid that I might imitate it. I think it's important to have my recognizable style. I always give it my own 'twist'."



For Thea, art 'should' surprise. Art should elicit amazement and admiration. There may be something strange in her works, complex emotion, but preferably not too sweet. Thea always incorporates some ugliness. Playing with aesthetics can also be fun, provided that it creates something intriguing in the artwork." "Yes", Thea admits, "it remains vague! In any case, I am hardly or not at all interested in pretentious and 'reasoned' work."

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Recent Art Exhibitions


  • Art Eindhoven, larger and smaller work


  • Solo Exhibition: Evermore Tea & Coffee Rotterdam, book presentation 'Strange Guests' 


  • Arte Concordia Rotterdam, artists' flags to frame the outdoor exhibition
  • Garage Rotterdam, presentation iPad drawings


  • Group Exhibition: Pop-up Jazz Museum Katendrecht in honour of 10 years of North Sea Jazz in Rotterdam 


  • North Sea Jazz Rotterdam, live jazz drawings (by invitation) + exhibition
  • Solo Exhibition: North Sea Round Town, BIRD ' Notes and Drawings' + GROUNDS 'One-Tune Drawings'.


  • Group Exhibition: Zomersalon TENT,Gemaal op Zuid Rotterdam (2011)
  • Solo Exhibtion: Donner Rotterdam paintings (2011)
  • Solo Exhibition: Retrospective, Centrum Beeldende Kunst Rotterdam (2008)
  • Solo Exhibition: WTC Gallery Rotterdam, and Presentation book '35 years drawing and painting' 
  • Group Exhibition: Diaoverview Rotterdam artist at kunstenaars van Galerie Duo Duo, DeKunsthal (2006)
  • Group Exhibition: INKT, The Hague (2004-2005)
  • Group Exhibition: Grote Kerk Den Haag, South Holland Grafiekmanifestatie, (1998-2002)
  • Group Exhibition: Galerie Duo Duo Rotterdam, De Kunsthal, 200 contemporary artists from Rotterdam and The Hague. (1996)
  • Solo Exhibition: Gerechtshof Rotterdam, Rotterdam. (1996)
  • Solo Exhibition: Galerie Cellini, Leiden. (1996)
  • Solo Exhibition: Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam. (1994)
  • Solo Exhibition: Rotterdamse Schouwburg, Rotterdam. (1983)
  • Solo Exhibition: Galerie Black Cat, Rotterdam. (1982)
  • Solo Exhibition: Galerie Maas, Rotterdam. (1977)

Book Publications

  • Thea van Doorn – 'Vreemde Gasten'. (2018)
    • Publisher Self
  • Thea van Doorn – 'Tekeningen en Schilderijen'. (2008)
    • Publisher Ad Donker en Stichting Onverwacht Bezoek
  • Awater poetry journal. (2008)
  • Zestig + 60 Rotterdamse Kunstenaars. (2007) 
    •  Publisher Duo Duo
  • Jubileumbook Hotel New York 10 years. (2003)
    • Publisher Hotel New York

Art Collection

Thea's work has been collected by private art collectors in The Netherlands for over 40 years. 

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