Who was Paul Kuiper?

Graphic designer, photographer, artistic painter Paul Kuiper was born in Meppel on 28 April 1932. He started his career as a graphic designer after his studies at the Academy for Art and Design in Enschede and the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, from which he graduated with honours. He designed posters, corporate identities, book covers, logos and vignettes, but also advertisements, packaging and exhibition stands. Kuiper worked as a freelancer for several clients ranging from publishers (Keesing, Elsevier, Ten Brink) and advertising agencies (Prad, Bauduin, De La Mar) to companies like KLM, Phillips and PTT. From 1964 he focused on his other passion: photography. He alternated journalistic work - writing articles for Ge´llustreerde Pers, Spaarnestad, VNU and Novib- with photography for calendars, brochures and album covers. In addition, since the beginning of the sixties, Kuiper had been teaching typography, graphic design and photography at several Dutch academies, including the Minerva Art Academy in Groningen. He continued to do this until 1990.

His work was exhibited internationally, and newspapers such as NRC, de Volkskrant and De Telegraaf, as well as magazines like AvantGarde, Libelle and Nieuwe Revu published his articles. In the last years of his life, Kuiper chose to make “uncommissioned” work as an artist. His pictures of swans on and around the IJsselmeer and the Gouwzee (1975-1990) were renowned as well as his static, yet poetic landscapes - from the North Cape to Gibraltar, from Wales to Africa, India and the United States. Paul Kuiper passed away in Wieuwerd on 10 May 2002. He left 100,000 slides and 50,000 negatives (of which he printed enlargements in his own darkrooms: about 10,000 in black and white and 5,000 in colour); 8,000 postcard size felt-pen drawings, hundreds of gouaches and a few dozen oil and acrylic paintings. Several pictures were printed as postcards. One large mural which he made can be seen in the ‘Nieuwezijds Kapel’ in Amsterdam. There are also two large mosaics in the Fontein School in Zwolle.

13 years after his passing, I was forced to decide whether or not to do something with my father's inheritance. I had already created a website with series of his serial work, but I hadn't done anything with his productive life as a graphic designer yet. A beautiful collection of posters, company logo designs and packaging appeared from storage. I started photographing and publishing them on the Internet. With the help of Van Sabben Poster Auctions, I have managed to take stock of his whole ‘oeuvre’, part of which of has now become available for collectors to buy and admire. After all, since it was made by one of the Dutch designers from the sixties and seventies, it is part of our cultural heritage. And this way, my father will not be forgotten.