Carla van de Puttelaar Statement

Artist Statement
Carla van de Puttelaar (1967, Zaandam) lives and works in Amsterdam. In 1996, she graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. In the same year, she was awarded the Esther Kroon Prize, and in 2002, she won the Prix de Rome Basic Prize. In 2006 she was nomination for Le Prix Découverte des Rencontres d’Arles. Her photographic work has gained worldwide recognition, and she has exhibited in numerous museums and galleries around the world. Her work has appeared in many publications including four monographs. She works for international acclaimed magazines and publishers such as the New York Times Magazine, the New Yorker, Random House. The cover that she did for the New York Times Magazine in 2015 was chosen as one of their best photos of the year. Her work is present in many public and private collections around the world. In 2016 she created ‘The Rembrandt Series’ in collaboration with the Rembrandt House in Amsterdam, who also organized the exhibition of this series in the museum in the spring of 2016, alongside the exhibition on Rembrandt’s Nudes. Presently she works on a series of portraits of Women in the Art World, for this she travels to various countries, uniting women of various disciplines and backgrounds through her photography.

Her work has appeared in various publications including the books Deshima (1999), Prix de Rome (2002), Carla van de Puttelaar, (2004), Carla van de Puttelaar: Galateas (2008), Carla van de Puttelaar: The Beholder's Eye (2008), Jewel Box, Light on Legs (2011). Her new monograph Adornments was published in the autumn of 2017.

The photography of Carla van de Puttelaar allows the eye to touch the skin on many different levels. Through her lens, she makes the viewer aware of the sensitivity and the sensuality of skin, which she examines in detail, without ever forgetting to be aware of the importance of the shapes and the structure that the skin envelopes. In her nudes, she wants to emphasize personality, vulnerability and intimate eroticism, as well as distance and, sometimes, alienation. Moles can be seen clearly, as well as more temporal marks such as bruises, or the imprint of underwear on the skin. They enhance the intimacy of the picture, charging it with tension. The female body has long been her main subject, but in recent years she has also successfully begun to examine the skin and texture of flowers, particularly those on the brink of fading, and the bark of and shapes of trees. In them, she has discovered the same fascinating sensitivity and sensuality as in her female models. Natural light is one of Carla’s most important tools and assets. She allows it to play around with her subjects and then catches it at its most seductive moment, and from that moment on, it is captured for posterity.

Van de Puttelaar has taught Photography at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, and worked from February 2009 till January 2017 as a volunteer at the RKD, Netherlands Institute of Art History. She published several articles on Dutch portraiture of the seventeenth century in Oud Holland, and in several exhibition catalogues, such as an essay about the painter Abraham Liedts in the exhibition catalogue of Jan Albertsz Rotius in Het Westfries Museum in Hoorn in 2016. In 2012 she was granted a Research Support Grant by the prestigious Paul Mellon Centre in London for her research on the Scottish portrait painter David Scougall (1625-1685). Van de Puttelaar has been asked regularly to lecture about her dissertation subject, such as in 2015 at the Paul Mellon Centre in London and early in 2017 at the University of Edinburgh, and about her photographic work at several universities, museums and other venues around the world. In September 2017 she defended her doctoral thesis on Scottish Portraiture at Utrecht University. In January 2018 she was a juror in the World Press Photo Contest.

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