Babs Haenen, born in Amsterdam in 1948, creates expressive and impressionistic ceramics that give equal importance to color, line, and form. Her works are embellished in a painterly manner, highlighting the influence of abstract painting and landscape motifs, like rippling water, on her practice.
Haenen works with colored porcelain slabs and builds colorful, organic vessels with a dynamic inner choreography. Layering the slabs with pigment allows her to form thin ribbons of colored porcelain, which she folds, cuts, and sculpts to create her vessels. Lately, Haenen’s work has gone from vertical vessel forms to more complex works that incorporate two or more separate pieces creating colorful tabletop landscapes.
Haenen first worked as a dancer before studying visual art at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam 1974-1979. In 1987 Haenen was the recipient of a work grant from the Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture in Amsterdam (now Mondriaan Fund). She was the 1990 recipient of a work grant from the Netherlands Ministry of Culture, and received the 1991 Inax Design Prize for Europe from Japan.
Her work is in the permanent collections of many museums, including: Museum of Fine Art, Boston; Museum of Fine Art, Houston; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Boijmans-van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam; Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem; Museum of Contemporary Ceramic Art, Shigaraki, Japan; Carnegie Institute Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Cooper-Hewitt Museum, New York; Museum of Art and Design, New York; and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.