World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Coosje van Bruggen

Coosje van Bruggen
Born (1942-06-06)June 6, 1942
Groningen, Netherlands
Died January 10, 2009(2009-01-10)
Los Angeles, California, United States
Nationality Dutch-American
Known for Sculpture

Coosje van Bruggen (June 6, 1942 – January 10, 2009) was a sculptor, art historian, and critic.[1] She collaborated extensively with her husband, Claes Oldenburg.


  • Biography 1
  • Travail 2
  • Awards 3
  • Death 4
  • Sculptures 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Born to a physician in Groningen, van Bruggen studied history of art at the University of Groningen. From 1967 to 1971, she worked at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. There she worked with environmental artists like Doug Wheeler, Larry Bell, and the members of the Dutch avant-garde.[1] Until 1976, van Bruggen taught at the Academy for Art and Industries in Enschede. In 1978, van Bruggen moved to New York, in 1993 she became a United States citizen.


She worked with her husband, sculptor Claes Oldenburg, since 1976. Her first work with Oldenburg came when she helped him install his 41-foot Trowel I on the grounds of the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo.[2] They were married in 1977. Together Oldenburg and van Bruggen produced three decades of monumental sculpture that van Bruggen would call Large-Scale Projects,[3] with their first piece created as a team being Flashlight (1981), a huge outdoor sculpture at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.[2] In Los Angeles, Collar and Bow - a 65-foot metal and fiberglass sculpture in the shape of a man's dress shirt collar and bow tie, designed for a spot outside Walt Disney Concert Hall - was stalled and eventually canceled because of technical problems and escalating costs.[4] In 1988, her work along with Oldenburg Spoonbridge and Cherry was commissioned by the Walker Art Center, and became a permanent fixture of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden as well as an iconic image of the city of Minneapolis. Their final joint work, fabricated in Turin, Italy, was Tumbling Tacks (2009), designed for the Kistefos Sculpture Park in the countryside north of Oslo.[2]

At her instigation, too, the couple branched out into indoor installations and performance. In 1985 they collaborated on Il Corso del Coltello (“The Course of the Knife”) a performance piece in Venice, Italy, with the architect Frank Gehry, whom van Bruggen had met in 1982, when she was on the selection committee for documenta 7 in Kassel.[1]

Since the early 1980s van Bruggen worked as an independent critic and curator. She contributed articles to Artforum magazine from 1983 to 1988, and served as senior critic in the sculpture department at Yale University School of Art in 1996-97.[2]

Van Bruggen was the author of scholarly books and essays on the work of major contemporary artists including Gerhard Richter (1985), John Baldessari (1990), Bruce Nauman (1991), and Hanne Darboven (1991). She also wrote a monograph on architect Frank O. Gehry's Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.[2]

Van Bruggen and Oldenburg were based in New York for many years, but they also lived and worked for extensive periods in Los Angeles and, since 1992, at Château de la Borde in Beaumont-sur-Dême, in the Loire Valley of France.

Cupid's Span (2002), by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen

One U.S. installation the pair collaborated on is the fiberglass and steel Cupid's Span, which was commissioned by GAP founders Donald and Doris F. Fisher, and installed in the newly built Rincon Park along the Embarcadero in San Francisco in 2002.[5] The piece resembles Cupid's bow and arrow, drawn, with the arrow and bow partially implanted in the ground; the artists stated that the piece was inspired by San Francisco's reputation as the home port of Eros, hence the stereotypical bow and arrow of Cupid.[6] Leydier and Penwarden wrote, "Love's trade-mark weapon naturally evokes the city's permissive and romantic reputation, while formally its taut curve resonates wonderfully with the structure of the famous suspension bridge in the background."[7]


Together with Oldenburg, Van Bruggen received numerous awards including the Distinction in Sculpture, Sculpture Center, New York (1994); Nathaniel S. Saltonstall Award, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (1996); Partners in Education Award, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2002); the Medal Award, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2004) and honorary degrees from the California College of the Arts, San Francisco, California (1996); University of Teesside, Middlesbrough, England (1999); Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax, Nova Scotia (2005); and the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan (2005).

The Estate of Coosje van Bruggen is represented by The Pace Gallery, New York.


After a long battle with breast cancer, she died at her residence in Los Angeles in 2009, aged 66, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.[3]


See also


  1. ^ a b c Kino, Carol. 13 January 2009. Coosje van Bruggen, Sculptor, Dies at 66, The New York Times.
  2. ^ a b c d e Suzanne Muchnich (January 13, 2009), "Coosje van Bruggen dies at 66; art historian made sculptures with husband Claes Oldenburg". Los Angeles Times.
  3. ^ a b Richard Lacayo (January 13, 2009), Coosje van Bruggen: 1942-2009 Time).
  4. ^ Mike Boehm (March 1, 2008), 'Collar and Bow' -- and then a suit Los Angeles Times.
  5. ^ Hoge, Patrick (November 23, 2002). "S.F. struck by love / Cupid's big bow gets rise out of passers-by".  
  6. ^ Cupid's Span. Chronology of Large-Scale Projects by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. August 25, 2009. Retrieved 2012-11-04.
  7. ^ Leydier, Richard; Penwarden, C. (December 2006). "Claes Oldenburg & Coosje van Bruggen: l'envol et la chute / Rise and Fall: Oldenburg & van Bruggen." Art Press no. 329: 28-33. (Art Full Text, H.W. Wilson, EBSCOhost, accessed November 10, 2012).

External links

  • Website Oldenburg and van Bruggen
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.