During the process of collecting and preserving historical collections around parapsychology and the Spiritualistic movement in the Netherlands, the HJBF has obtained a modest, yet fascinating collection of Dutch mediumistic art from the 1920s onwards.
The development of mediumistic art accompanied the rise of the spiritualist movement after World War I. Instead of channeling messages from the ‘world beyond the veil’ through conversational interactions, mediumistic artists produced paintings, sculptures, photographs and music during their seances.
The medium, in a state of mental disembodiment, would be inhabited by the creative entities of the transcendental world and then used as a tool to create works of art in the earthly world. These artists gained popularity within the network of Spiritualists, as their works were seen as physical proof of life after death. Mediumistic art predominantly depicted occult, cryptic and in some cases even grisly scenes that was filled with symbolism. Some of the paintings are more figurative, but many display a more intuitive, ‘automatist’ style of painting.
Mediumistic art never really gained mainstream popularity amongst the wider public, and as a result was forgotten by many. However, over the last decade, this type of art has become more and more popular as a part of the ‘Art Brut’ or ‘Outsider Art’ movement. HJBF is in possession of a collection of mediumistic paintings, from the likes of Hendrik Mansveld (1884-1957), Jan Huibrecht Verwaal (1889-1972), and Catherina Koopman-Bensman Willinge (1846 -1922). This has led to a growing interest in this resurfacing art movement.