Paul Bartels, Stiertjes, 1987

The Dutch multimedia artist Paul Bartels (Tegelen, 1942) was the subject of the first exhibition I ever made. He exhibited amongst others a series of 30 Stiertjes of de zonen van St. Lukas (Young Bulls or the sons of St. Luke). These were silkscreened on handmade Japanese Unryu paper by my father Kees Graaf [1] in sometimes more than 30 print runs.


As the exhibition formed part of my research for my art history course at the University of Leiden, I wrote an exceptionally long text with you can find here in Dutch, but which will be translated into English. A short excerpt states:

Bartels does not feel a direct relationship with a group or movement. However, he does see similar ideas in the work of Henk Visch, Edward Kienholz, George Segal and Jim Dine, among others. There is a similar appeal to certain aspects of Joseph Beuys’ work, particularly where it occupies a signalling position within German society. This is where Bartels sees his task:
“As an artist, you have to integrate yourself – through your work – into a reality and do something in that reality.”

By making 30 portraits of these young bulls Bartels treated them as important individuals and cultural assets, thus integrating himself in the reality he suggests in this text.


There are unfortunately very little photos left of this exhibition and the invite is currently lost as well. The images here are made during a visit of former colleagues from the Kooyker Bookshop in Leiden where I had worked as a student and also show a central sculpture.

The other photos are from a later presentation of the Stiertjes at Stedelijk Museum Roermond. The individual bull is photographed by Lia Bolderman.

The exhibition took place in the autumn of 1987 in Zebra, the initial name of the later Parbleu. This page will be extended with more material when available.



[1] Kees Graaf played an important role in the Provo-movement in Maastricht during the sixties. He was well-known as a very talented silk-screen printer who produced work with and for amongst others the artists of The Research Group (Vincent van den Meersch, Jos Jans, Hugo Duchateau, Hélène Keil, André Sprankenis and Jan Withofs) as well as  Raoul De Keyser (1970 and 2002). His work is included in the collection of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. The magazine Ontbijt op Bed (Breakfast in Bed) that he printed and edited with Hans Mol and Ger Brouwer, is mentioned by Beatrice Colomina in her anthology Clip, Stamp, Fold: The Radical Architecture of Little Magazines, 196X to 197X (2010, p. 99)

Doove, Edith (1989) De Research Group – Illustratie van een tijdsbeeld, as yet unpublished master thesis, Antwerp.
– (2007) Laughter, inframince and cybernetics – Exploring the Curatorial as Creative Act, PhD, p. 23, available at

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