Charlotte van Pallandt

Charlotte Dorothée Baroness van Pallandt was born in Arnhem in 1898. She came from an aristocratic family, which initially hindered her career as an artist. She wanted to become a painter but her family was against it. In 1919 she married a highly placed diplomat, with whom she lived for several years in Berne in Switzerland. She left her husband in 1923 and moved to Lausanne to follow lessons in painting.

In 1926 she settled in Paris, then the centre of modern art. She was taught painting by André Lhote and became acquainted with the Armenian sculptor Hakob Gyurjian, who advised her to take up sculpture. She followed lessons with Charles Malfray and Charles Despiau and she was influenced by the work of artists including Aristide Maillol. Van Pallandt stayed mainly in Paris until 1939, although from 1930 she was already a member of the Nederlandse Kring van Beeldhouwers (Dutch Circle of Sculptors).

Van Pallandt returned to the Netherlands at the outbreak of the Second World War. She met the sculptor Albert Termote, who gave her valuable technical advice. Her work deals mainly with the human body: not the anatomical structure, but the relationship between planes and volumes. She was more concerned with portraying a person’s inner character than with providing a superficial likeness.

In 1958 she represented the Netherlands at the Venice Biennale, but she would not attain widespread recognition as a figurative sculptor until 1968, when she produced the sculpture of Queen Wilhelmina in Rotterdam. On her seventy-fifth birthday she was invested as an officer in the Order of Oranje-Nassau. In 1980 she won the Singer Prize. She continued to make portraits late in life. She died in 1997 at the age of 98 at her home in Noordwijk.