solo tentoonstellingen – solo exhibitions:


1957    Galerie De Mangelgang, Groningen (op voorspraak van Dr.Jos de Gruyter)

1961    Galerie Uittenhout, Haarlem

1962    In het Goede Uur, Haarlem

1963    Gemeente museum, Den Haag ( door toedoen van Dr. Jos de Gruyter)

1966    Galerie 845, Amsterdam

Kunstzaal Polder, Den Haag

            Galerie De Sfinx, Amsterdam

1969    In het Goede Uur, Haarlem

1972    Atelier 10, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

1974    Galerie S, Amsterdam

1975    In de Dorstige Kuil, Heemstede

            In 't Hoogt, cultureel centrum Utrecht

            De Tamboer, cultureel centrum, Hoogeveen

1977    Amro-bank, Kneuterdijk, Den Haag.

1978    De Onafhankelijken, Grand Palais, Parijs

Galerie Huances, Amsterdam

A.B.N., Leidse plein, Amsterdam

1979    tentoonstelling van "Europese Schilderkunst", Brussel

Heineken Galerie

Gebouw Provinciale staten Noord Holland, Haarlem

1981    In het Oude Slot, cultureel centrum, Heemstede

            Walter Thompson, Amsterdam

Galerie de Greeve, Wassenaar

Galerie Ambachtscollectief, Hilversum

Galerie Dijk 1 , Alkmaar

Fokker, Aalsmeer

Cultureel Centrum, Midwoud

1989    N.C.R.V. , Hilversum

Galerie Dijk 1, Alklmaar

Galerie 27, Wassenaar.

1990    Galerie De Pauw; Heemstede

1991    Stoutenbeek wooncentrum, Beverwijk

            Restaurant “De Geleerde Man”, Bennebroek

1992    Galerie "De Pook", Hengelo

1994    Pulchri Studio, twee grote zalen.

1997    Brauckman Galerie, Heemstede

2004    Achter de Zuilen, Gemeentehuis Bloemendaal (photoshoots/fotoserie)



tentoonstellingen in groepsverband – group exhibitions:


“De Onafhankelijken” sinds 1973

“Arti et Amicitiae”, Amsterdam in 1979

“Pulchri-Studio”, Den Haag sinds 1980

“Sint Lucas”, Amsterdam in 1989






Gallery ‘Uittenhout’, Haarlem



Exhibition in Haarlem.

The art critic of a well-known dutch journal, “de Volkskrant”, B. Oppers wrote on 4-4-1961:


Hermannus van Tongeren

A seeker with many forms of expression.


In Gallery Uittenhout in the Kleine Houtstraat 41 in Haarlem is exhibiting Hermannus van Tongeren (27) oil paintings, drawings and collages. Van Tongeren is of a benificent (pleasant) many sidedness. I mean this in the litterary meaning of the word. With just the same enthousiasm, he makes accurate drawings after nature as abstract paintings and collages a la Kurt Schwitters from tram tickets and orange papers. The oilpaintings are sometimes monochrome and polychrome, abstract and with a real suggestion to the reality. One may not blame him for his many sidedness, he seeks. But he is seeking honestly and with conviction and in all directions with a great capability in his profession. On the whole one may say he has an inclination for abstraction. He sees, just like the composer in the abstract musical, real possibility to express his most intimate feelings in an abstract painting. Preferably he calls these paintings “spheres and forms in space". This is his good right and he gets magnificient and moving effects in it, in especially those paintings in which he lets the fullness of the colours in discerning effects come to their rights. But next to this he feels the need to paint in expressionistic reality "the street”, "the ship "and " the ruin", in most cases in a wealth of tonalities in blue which he brings to a mysterious life. His play in the collages, often with paint as an extra, is for him an inner source of inspiration.In this way a versatile work that bears nevertheless always the stamp of a strict personal style which found in the many sidedness not yet one direction but has at the same time th the hallmark of a honest and very artistic seeker who is worth all our interest on his difficult road. It would not astonish me if his final way would be the expressionism, for in my opinion he reaches here his greatest force of imagination. But that does not take away that the many sidedness of the moment gives a fascinating exhibition.






Exhibition ‘ Stedelijk Museum’, Amsterdam



Professor Harry Holtzman in the thirties. He was one of the discoverers of Mondriaan and became one of his best friends. After Mondriaans death he became his heir. Holtzman was very enthousiastic about my work . Some of my paintings in the ' Stedelijk museum’ of Amsterdam in 1972










Exhibition about Mondriaan




In maart 1973 las ik het volgende bericht in de krant:


8-3-'73 Film en expositie over Mondriaan.


Amersfoort. In Mondriaan's geboorteplaats Amersfoort was donderdag de première van de film “Piet Mondriaan”. Deze kleurenfilm van 19 minuten werd vervaardigd door de Haagse filmer Nico Crama.

De filmpremière was gekoppeld aan de opening van een documentaire tentoonstelling over het leven en het werk van de schilder. Meer dan tweehonderd nooit eerder in het openbaar getoonde documenten en voorwerpen uit de nalatenschap van Mondriaan worden tentoongesteld. Zij zijn gebruikt bij de vervaardiging van de film.

Vriend en erfgenaam van de schilder professor Harry Holtzman uit New York leidde de film en de tentoonstelling bij het publiek in. Ambassadeurs uit verscheidene landen woonden de manifestatie bij.



v     Ik dacht dat deze Harry Holtzman die een neus voor vernieuwers in de kunst bleek te hebben het belang van mijn werk waarschijnlijk beter zou begrijpen dan de vaderlandse deskundigen en ik schreef hem de vol­gende brief.



In march 1973 I red the following paragraph in my newspaper:

8-3-'73 Film and exhibition about Mondriaan.


Amersfoort. In Mondriaan's birthplace Amersfoort there was a premie­re last thursday of the film “Piet Mondriaan”. This colorfilm of 19 minutes was made by the filmmaker Nico Crama who lives in The Hague. The filmpremiere was coupled with the opening of a documentary ex­hibition on the life and the work of the painter.More than twohun­dred documents never before showed in public and objects from the inheritance of Mondriaan were exhibited. They were used in the making of the film.

Friend and heir of the painter professor Harry Holtzman from New York

introduced the film and the exhibition to the public.

Ambassadors from several countries attended the manifestation.



v     I thought that this Harry Holtzman who apparently had a nose for the pioneers in art would probably better understand the importance of my work than the experts in my own country and I wrote him the following letter.








Heemstede, 11 june `73



Dear mister Holtzman,


In october or november `72 I saw a documentary film on the life of Mondriaan. There was an interview with you in that film in which you said you went to Paris as a young man te meet Mondriaan because his work fascinated you. You,were the true lover of art to make a long journey to a painter who was far from being recognised as a pionier in art, not by the official people anyway. I am saying already for years that I long for the moment that I will encounter a man with a nose for pioniers, a nose for the differance between good and bad and a man who can help me to get recognition what I make.

It is always difficult to talk for oneself and I hope you don't think I am conceited or proud. I just know the worth of what I made, I know the depth of my fee1ings and I know I am able after many years to express my self in many different ways and I know what I will be able te make in the future with a bit of space around me and tranquillety. It is dificult to hide this for others , who don’t feel or see what you do.

I wanted to write you after seeing that film because I felt you would probably recognise what was new in someones work more than all those museum people who studied art but don’t see or feel or get a shock even when it should be very clear. I didn’t write you then because I didn’t find that fotos I had of my work good enough. Even now after seven months I still don’t have much, it’s very disappointing, the colours are never right, parts of the paintings are cut of and it all costs a lot.

In the meantime I red in the paper that you had been in Holland for an exposition of documents on Mondriaan in Amersfoort. I rang to ask if you were still in Holland and heard you were in Paris and had benn here three times lately. I had bad luck again. Now, you can’t see my paintings as they really are and I am able only to send you some fotos with colours that are not good. You see on1y some fotos of paintings belonging to series of the same kind and you won’t understand the rather different tendencies, the oontrasts in my work. For that you should see much more. Anyway, I hope I can raise your interest enough sothat you perhaps are willing to be my guest when you come to Holland again sothat I  can show a lot  more of my work.

I wanted to go abroad with my work already for years because of my experience with museumpeople here and because the tendencies of public and artcritics here is for figurative and semi-figurative art and because of the truth of the saying: one is never honoured in one's own country. My father was a great inventor who was killed by the germans in the war when he was 44 and he had experienced the same with selling his inventions. First in Germany and in the United States his success began, than he had some success here.

I will explain you something about my work. I am forty years old and really started to paint in '56 and right from the beginning I had  an enormous contrast in my work. I made impressionistic landscapes for I loved nature and started at the same time a great series of blue paintings as I call them. In these I expressed more of myself, they are inner land­scapes with little forms and bigger forms in space symbolizing my feelins. They form a very personal language of which the symbols are not taken from ths world outside as in the case of the surrealists. In ear­lier paint1ngs of these series in blues and ochres there was more atmosphere, later the forms became more and more concentrated and the atmosphere disappeared mostly. I send you one of these blue series in colours and some in black and white. I will put a B on the back of these fotos of the blue series as a A stands for the landscapes.

Many people were happily shocked by these blue paintings because of the abstract, totally new world they give, but although some of more important museum man here had to confess that they couldn't see any influance of other painters in these blue paintings – they didn’t recognize the importance of these paintings or did dare to buy them. They will wait till I am famous and my prices are sixty times as high, it is always going like that. The painting of these blue paintings in which I express the infinite, the timeless and the loneleness, the lon­ging and the tensions I feel, asks a lot of concentration and the ab­stinence of colour. But I was always fascinated by colour too and had an outlet in painting landscapes and later in painting with horizon­tals and verticals and paintings with more loose forms with rich colours and structures. Then I started in '64 a series of great paintings with sharply defined or separated forms on a white underground in musical dynamical movement (C). Critics and museumman alwayls want to put you in a certain pigeonhole sothat the can classify you. When they don’t succeed they are irritated and ignore your work because they don't know what to say about it or they say that you did not yet find your line becauee they don’t understand the contrasts in expression. Anyway they say that these paintings have something of Malewitsch or Kandinsky. This is not true. I like Malewitsch but he is static and I am dynamic and nearly always want to reach a dynamical climax in my paintings, a collision of forms and cou1ours as the' climaxes in the rite of spring of Strawinsky. Kandinsky is totally different. I had a so called "studio or atelier" exhibition of these paintings and some blue ones in the “stedelijk” museum or museum of modern art in Amsterdam in the automn of ’72 and send you the fotos of that exhibition. The blue paintiings I exhibit in the Kunsthalle in Hamburg when I can organise one or better two exhibitions in Germany or Schwitserland. That makes the costs less. I 'll have to make a trip there but I wait till I have more good fotos of my paintings because I don’t want to travel with too many paintings, they are very easely to damage, especial1y the blue ones. Then I made a series of paintings with brush of dynamical formstreams in '64 and '65 (D). The colours of the prints of this series are no good , much too brown, but you get an idea anyway. Then about two years ago I started to make paintings with my paletknive which brought two movements together, the great dynamical paintings with sharply defi­ned colourfields and the less big paintings with rich colour mixing end richness of texture (E). As in the blue paintings I wanted to concentra­te more and more to reach a great power and expressivety in what I expressed but now I did it in colour and in a flat surface and not in space. I get the concentrated force of the big paintings and the richness of other paintings by letting strong lines or beams collide and fall apart in colour mixings or fragments in certain regions with great tranquil colour fields in the rest of the painting. Further I started about four years ago to make painted woodconstructions in which I express the same ideas on a three-dimemsional plane.

I have hundreds of sketches for blue paintings and for other directions in which I want to express my feelings but I just don’t have the time and the tranquillety to work it out. I can work only half the time I would like to. I could write you more but although I believe there is a change you are able to do something for me and there is a chance that you are willing to, it is no use writing more before I know that you are interested in my work or not. I wanted to ask you this: When you come to Holland again can you visit me and see my work (then I would like to be warned some month before you come if possible for some times in summer especially, we are gone for six weeks). Further I have the courage to ask you if you can show these fotos to a gallery or director of a museum of modern art of whom you think that he would be interested. If you are willing to help me a little bit to get contacts in the United States I won’t forget that. I could come to America with some work when you think that is more sensible to do than sending fotos. When you think seeing these fotos that you are not very interested in my work, then I ask you to have the kindness to send them back sothat I can use them again. My apologies for asking your time and for typing this letter, that is because of my bad handwriting. Hoping to hear something of you,


Yours faithfully,


Herman van Tongeren








Two letters in response from Holtzman





July 9, 1973



Dear Mr. van Tongeren,


Thank you for your very long letter, and the confidence which you express in my judgemet. I very much appreciate the long and difficult path that you have been following. It is not easy to feel isolated and misunderstood.


I must explain to you that my interest and relationship with Mondrian began in 1934, when I was twenty-two years old. It was much more difficult a time economically, although the world of "abstract" art was a thousand times smaller. I too identified myself as an artist and was very active, productive -- but much opposed and ignored.


When Mondrian died, his recognition was only at the beginning, compared to now. His works were sought only by a very few advanced mentalities, a very few museums, despite his importance since 1917. In 1934, still struggling for existence, he was already 62 years old. I had no question in my mind about his great importance, and since that time devoted the better part of my life to his historycal advencement. 


Now I am 61 years old. Now I am almost free of the feeling of  my obligation to my friend Mondriaan and to social history. Now it is time for me to return to myself, in my own studio, in a way which I have not known since Mondrian died.


I tell you these things so that you will understand that I am not quite in the position your letter suggests, to help you in your situation. You are obviously a very gifted and serious artist. According to your letter, despite your difficulties in Holland, you nevertheless are active in Germany where the acceptance of your extremes are evidently more active. Moreover, every artist has the right to approach every museum director who pretends to represent the advancement of contemporary art. You have the right to request consideration, as your work, judging from the photos you sent to me, is the expression of a mature and deep sensibility.


When I come again to Holland I will make every effort to find a way to visit you. Meanwhile, my best wishes.













February 3, 1974



Dear Herman van Tongeren,

I cannot remember whether I wrote to you since I visited you with your beautiful family. I want you to know that I enjoyed our fine dinner. Especially, I want to tell you that I think you are a tremedously gifted artist and that I hope you will find the respect you deserve.


The difficulties of establishing rapport with the art-world are entirely other then the intensity of meaning and value that the artist must struggle to achieve in his work. Often the two struggles are hopelessly opposed to each other, even contradictory. I hope you did not misinterpret my sincere desire to genuinely encourage you in your efforts to establish useful social relationships which would help you to bring your work to the light of the public.

But you are a very determined man. I am sure that your persistence will one day be effective in establishing the kind of relationships you deserve.

Sincere greetings to you and your wife and children.

I lift a glass of Genever to our next meeting.












Cultural Centre ‘‘t Hoogt’, Utrecht



Another critic writes in an article about an exhibition in the cultural centre  “'t Hoogt” in Utrecht in 1975 :


In the work of Van Tongeren the accent lies on the confrontation between chaos and order.The paintings are fragments of totals in which two extremes, namely a standstill and movernent in one surface, are combined. Van Tongeren is inspired by nature landscapes in which violent happenings take place which are sources of inspiration for his creative work. He himself gives as examples: Train and airplanecrashes which took place in open surroundings, cars that collided, movements that are stopped suddenly, debris clotted together in rivers and canals. In these happenings he is interested in the "falling apart of clear-cut forms, the collisions between the different forms, the contrast that arises when positive and negative meet each other in a flat surface. Van Tongeren finds a solution for these problems in a painterly way. In this he leans on the constructive findings of form of Malevitch and uses the tachistic technique as used in some of de Koonings works. Exceptional in the work of van Tongeren is the way in which he combines both these styles. van Tongeren paints with feeling. For him painting is "a rowing against the stream". In the stencil that accompanies his exhibition he declares: "I want, in a world that goes to its doom, bring beauty and order, energy and colour for the people who are open for it”.