The Maastricht University Library has acquired some unique works by poet and painter Pierre Kemp (Maastricht 1886–1967). The collection includes 11 choreographic fantasies painted in 1931.

Professor Wiel Kusters, an expert on the works of Pierre Kemp, integrated this collection into the Maastricht University (UM) heritage collection and was therefore chosen to present and explain these works for the first time.

The presentation was held on 15 May at the University Library’s inner city location. Those present included representatives of the Maastricht culture and heritage institutions, ambassadors of the Jesuit collection and members of the Maastricht University Arts and Culture Committee.

Maastricht Academic Heritage Fund

During the festivities, director of the University Library Ingrid Wijk informed attendees of the plans for the recently founded Maastricht Academic Heritage Fund. With this fund, the library hopes to expand, conserve and digitise these special UM collections and make them available to a wider audience as well as to research and education. The fund is part of the University Fund Limburg/SWOL.

Anyone interested in contributing to the fund and helping to ensure that the special collections of Pierre Kemp, Charles Eyck and the Jesuits remain accessible can become a friend of the fund. The first fund activity was the creation of a series of cards depicting the choreographic fantasies of Pierre Kemp. These cards can be purchased individually or as a set. For more information on the Maastricht Academic Heritage Fund and the Pierre Kemp cards, please visit http://www.maastrichtuniversity.nl/library/mahfund.htm.

Explanation of choreographic fantasies

In 1931, poet and painter Pierre Kemp created twelve so-called choreographic fantasies. Eleven of these are now part of the UM heritage collection while the twelfth, entitled ‘Ideal Baby Competition’, has yet to be found. What Kemp intended for these remarkable revue or ballet creations remains unknown. His personal archives reveal that he hoped to send them to America. Some of these performances seem to correspond to what innovative theatre artists and scenographers were doing at that time in the United States. Presumably he was visually inspired by several images published in the 1931 monograph by Joseph Gregor and René Fülöp-Miller entitled Das amerikanische Theater und Kino (American Theatre and Cinema). This book was part of Kemp’s reference library, which has been included as a special collection in the University Library at Maastricht University. (Literature: Wiel Kusters, Pierre Kemp, een leven. (Pierre Kemp: A Life) Nijmegen: Vantilt, 2010, 331-333.)

Photo impressions by Jonathan Vos (Maastricht):

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