Hendrik Valk (1897-1986)
Lovers Paradise "In Het Paradijs"
Oil on Board, 14x11"
Signed with initials and dated 32'
Hendrik Willem Valk was born in Elst in 1886. Before becoming an architect himself he worked for several architects, like W. te Riele in Deventer. After that he attended the school of arts and crafts in Amsterdam, after which he worked at the office of Jos. Cuypers and Jan Stuyt in that city. Especially Stuyt became a major influence for Valk, who shared Stuyts interest for early early-christian and Byzantine architecture. During his period in Amsterdam Valk witnessed the rise of the Amsterdam School of Expressionistic architecture, which became an influence in his early work. In 1915 Valk started his own firm, first in Blerick, later in 's-Hertogenbosch. His first works are houses, but in the 1920's he became an important architect of catholic churches. Although Valk had no contacts with M.J. Granpré Molière and therefore cannot be considered a member of the Delft School, he was a Traditionalist, although he continued to use Expressionistic elements for some time. Under the influence of the Liturgic Movement he designed several churches with a ground plan designed to optimize the involvement of the believers with the mass. Such churches have a wide central aisle, narrow side-aisles, a wide transept and a short but illuminated choir. In the centre, clear for all to see, is the altar. In 1934 Valk wrote a book about these 'christocentric churches'
After 1925 his ideas and style became more conservative. In 1929, after a conflict, he was expelled from the BNA, the country's leading organisation of architects. Like A.J. Kropholler, Valk was convinced that good architecture should be rooted in the traditions of the rural parts of the country. It's ideas like these that urged Valk, like Kropholler, to join the fascist movement Zwart Front (Black Front, later renamed Nationaal Front), for which he became, at least in name, leader of the 's-Hertogenbosch area. Although this movement was disbanded by the Germans in 1941, Valk after the war was regarded a collaborator. Reasons for this could be several articles he had published during the war and his accepting of assignments from the nazi's, like that for a monumental bridge in Echt, Limburg, which however was never built. Until 1948 Valk was excluded from governmental assignments, while until 1950 he was not allowed to enter competitions. After 1950 he was once again very active. In this period he occassionally was assisted by his sons G.H.F. and H.W. Jr.. He died in 's-Hertogenbosch in 1973.