Because the etcher is not always the creator and the executor, one has to make a distinction when observing etchings:
– When the etcher gets the idea for an artistic etching from his own creativity, his imagination and feelings, he is the creator and the etching is called “original”.
– When he limits himself to the skilled reproducing of a painting or other graphical work from another artist, he is then bound to the truly representation of the contents and character, and he becomes merely a reproducer. The etching is then called a reproduction.
Jan De Cooman has revealed himself as a distinguished etcher, aswell as a creative artist as a reproducer.
The etchings of Jan De Cooman are known far and wide. He gained numerous awards and shortly before his decease he was awarded the first prize at the International Exposition in Milano. About his etchings the artist talks as about his children: with inner pleasure and with an unrestrained feeling of pride and love. He declared to us: “I incredibly like etching, much more than painting. The etching is for plastic art, what the organ is for music: the product of perfection. The etching achieves a purity and fullness that can not be reached by any other technique, neither by sheer painting, nor by sheer drawing.”
Jan De Cooman gave his images a downright “Biedermeier-character, the cachet of unspoiled feeling for nature and of realism of atmosphere. He doesn’t lose himself nature, but he lived in here. He feeled her with all his senses. He sojourned with her in dreams and closeness, and surprised like a child with an obstinate patience for precision he depicted her beauty that flourished in front of his eyes.
The technique of the artist doesn’t budge an inch from the principles of the Ancient Masters: consider beauty as the living entanglement of ideal and reality and accept the meticulous drawing as the sole means of expression to defining the character of things and to converting them into reality. The line as drawn by Jan De Cooman does not degrade into estethic fluttering or mental absorbedness. Never does she become a critical element, nor does she become grotesque or sarcastic. Always is she serious and common or even academic, though not in the sense of barren insensitivity, but in the sense of a monumental expressiveness, calm and majestic.
Unarguably, the stylistic flexibility and the graphical rationality form the backbone of the art of Jan De Cooman.
Translated from the Dutch book “Jan De Cooman en zijn werk” , author: Gaston De Knibber.