The Bildung Years
After his academic studies in the mid-’70s, as many of his contemporaries, Van Haaften tries to rediscover, or even re–invent the fundamentals of painting. The painterly grammar of colour, shapes and forms, and the handling of paint itself – as the main issue of that time was – become subject of his investigation. This general artistic desire stemmed from a quest for minimalism and purification; at that time fundamental painting was the leading tendency.
During his Bildung, Van Haaften is strongly influenced by artists such as Gerhard Richter and Jasper Johns, to whom he attributes his artistic coming of age.
Looking at the works of Joost van Haaften from this era, one sees that it is an attempt to free painting, acknowledging the academic conflict of abstract versus figurative. Not only the representation of his subjects becomes his point of focus, but also the painted canvas as an object itself. Headed by intuition, questions such as what to paint and how to paint define his all–over artistic investigation.