Born in Rotterdam (NL) in 1962, Karen van Dulmen Krumpelman grew up in a cultural environment that encouraged and stimulated her love for drawing and painting and art in general.
She studied History of Art at Leiden University (1983-1988) while continuing to draw and to paint.
After she left Leiden for The Hague, Karen continues to paint portraits in commission, alongside free work.
In her charming studio at home, she also gives courses in drawing and painting.
E.B. von Dülmen Krumpelmann (1897-1987)
From her childhood onward she had a close bond with her great-uncle, the painter E.B. von Dülmen Krumpelmann, which affected her technical development as a painter and the selection of her subjects. During the summer months until his death in 1987, she used to spend weeks with him at his home in the village of Zeegse (Drenthe, Netherlands), learning from him when painting together ‘en plein air’.
Lucian Freud (1922-2011)
Having seen a retrospective exhibition of the work of Lucian Freud in Paris in January 1988. Impressed by his work, Karen decided to write him a letter upon which he invited her to come to London in June of the same year. It is the beginning of a special relationship, which continued until his death in 2011. Their correspondence and frequent conversations, as well as Freud's encouragement, have played a key role in Karen's decision to become a full time painter and sculptor.
Phil van de Klundert (1942-2016)
In 1990 Karen meets sculptor Phil van de Klundert, who became an important mentor to her in developing her sculpting skills. From that time onward, she works at his studio and although their art work is very different, there is a common attitude towards the necessity of creating. Phil also teaches her the technical skills of sculpting.
(text by Peter Fransman, former Director Museum Het Domijn, Sittard, The Netherlands. 2017)
“Like Freud, her main interest lies in the human figure and portraits. While her paintings and drawings are more realistic, her sculptures approach the subject in a rather impressionist way.
The figure is translated into different surfaces, each catching the light. The landscape of the form is divided into smooth curves and angular opposites. What she actually does is “three dimensional painting” with concrete, clay or bronze. When the work is under artificial light, there is little change, but in a non-uniform daylight, you'll see a new work, as it were, or another look on the reality of the sculpture.
You will recognize her “painting with material” all the more when you look at her paintings and drawings: the flat approach, in harmony with the model and reality itself is reflected in it, but also the influence of her knowledge of the technique and the work of her great-uncle and Lucian Freud.
And yet, she found her own personal form and that's so fascinating about her work. That's why this work is so enchanting. Work that plays with daylight , thus allowing the viewer to interpret the work and make it one's own.
When it comes to the operation of, for example, her portraits in bronze, you’ll see they go beyond an image of reality: the person emerges as it is. No photographic reality, but a soul and character emerge. This also applies to her women figures: they show bodies that are touched by life, in all their perseverance.”