In the early 1970s there was little interest in the unusual paintings of the Dutch artist Jean Thomassen. Some art critics were scathing intheir reviews. One wrote that he could 'puke' after seeing Thomassen's paintings; another suggested that 'they had to be made by someone from an asylum, for no normal human being can have such sick fantasies'. But other more perceptive critics praised him as 'a genius'.
So, 'genius' or 'as mad as a hatter'? This is the question constantly provoked by Thomassen's unusual and unpredictable
paintings which form the subject of this book. The Foreword is by lne Veen, the former Dutch ballerina, actress and model who discovered Thomassen's talents in 1973 and gave him the
opportunity to develop into the now undisputed master of Absurd Realism. (Appropriately, it is a tiny 1.2 x 1.2 mm painting of her right eye that has earned Thomassen a place in the Guinness Book of Records as the creator of the world's smallest oil painting).
Thomassen- a winner of many international awards and author of 17 books- was knighted in 2009 for his contribution to Dutch art.