Haenen, Babs


Babs Haenen is born in 1948 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. She studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam, Ceramic Department from 1974-1979. She has had her own studio in Amsterdam since 1979. From 1994 till 2013 she taught at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie. She was visiting lecturer at the Royal College of Art, London, and the Academie voor Industriële Vormgeving, Eindhoven. Her vessels are collected by leading national and international museums and private collectors. She had exhibitions in important galleries in London, Düsseldorf, Sydney, Tokyo, Philadelphia and New York. In 1998 The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam presented her retrospective 'The Turbulent Vessel'- designed by visual artist Peter Struycken. In 1991 Haenen won the Inax Design Prize for Europeans – Japan, which enabled her to design her first tiles. Since 2011 she has regularly worked in Jingdezhen in China, in a studio of her own.

Typical for Haenen’s vessels is the suggestion of movement. Thin porcelain slabs of clay are modelled like textile into sculptural vases, in which decoration and structure form an organic entity. Colour and structure create a dynamic interplay between inside and outside, freely flowing bands of colour, planes and patterns. The highly tactile quality is accentuated by the smooth, sensual skin.

Pictures: Babs Haenen with Marianne De Trey at Shinners Bridge Pottery in 1978 (UK); portret 1991 (source: Book Ten years of works); portrait c. 2010 (source: Royal Tichelaar Makkum); Babs and Anton Reijnders during China project Gerrit Rietveld Academy, 2010; two porcelain containers 1980s-1990s; container 2012 (exhibition Gallery Wim van Krimpen Amsterdam); container 'Garden of Earthly Delights', h. 37 cm, 2019 (source artist).

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  • Janssen, Hans..............XXste Eeuw, Waanders uitgevers Zwolle.                                         
  • Gemeentemuseum, Den Haag, 2008.
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  • Leclercq, Anne, Triennale Europeenne, ceramique, Verre, WCC. BF, Mons 2007.
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  • Trumpie, Ank, Pretty Dutch, 18de-eeuws Hollands Porcelein.
  • Clark, Garth Shards, Garth Clark on Ceramic Art, DAP 2004, USA.
  • Dietz, Ulysses Grant Great Pots, Contemporary Ceramics from function fantasy, The Newark Museum, New Ark, New Yersey 2003. 
  • The legacy of Modern Ceramic Art, The Museum of Modern Ceramic Art, Gifu, Japan, 2003.
  • Rijk, Thimo de, Designers in Nederland, Ludion Amsterdam, Gent, 2003.
  • Cooper Emmanuel Ten thousand years of potterry, the Britisch Museum Press, 2002.                                                
  • Boot, M. The Turbulent Vessel. Babs Haenen - Keramiek/Ceramic s 1991 - 1998. Amsterdam: Stedelijk Museum 1998.
  • Crommelin, L. Keramiek in het Stedelijk/Ceramics. Amsterdam: Stedelijk Museum 1998. 
  • Catalogue of the Collection 1992. Shigaraki: The Museum of Contemporary Ceramic Art 1993.
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  • Clark, Garth. Babs Haenen. tien jaar werk /a decade of work. Leeuwarden: Museum Het Princessehof 1991.
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  • Staal, G. Holland in Vorm, Vormgeving in Nederland 1945-1987. ‘s-Gravenhage.
  • Inax Design Prize III. Tokyo: Inax Corporation 1992. 


  • Hulsman, Bernard, Versieren is geen misdaad meer, Cultureel supplement NRC 13-3-2009.
  • Faber, Bernard, Keramische klimop, Haarlem- Stadsschouwburg, gevelbouw jaargang 5, nr 2, juli 2008.
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