When you turn over the leaves of this book, it will strike you that every painting of Louis Nagelkerke has, one way or another, to do with beauty. In his work we see no evil, no misery, no violence, no horror. For Louis, this is a wellconsidered choice. His pain limit for misery is very low; he tries to avoid injustice, violence, dishonesty as much as possible. Allthough he knows very well these things are part of our world, he has no intention to do something with it in his art. He tries to see only the beautifull things in life and to associate with people who are able to bring out the best in him. That beauty, inside as well as outside, is an important motive for Louis Nagelkerke.
Indonesia, and Bali in particular, has lots of beauty to offer. Louis Nagelkerke is not only fascinated by the beauty of the people, but also by all the wonderfull things religion has brought the country, such as temples and buddha statues. During his many journeys through Indonesia, Louis noticed that it is a very rich country in many ways. Louis believes that this has a lot to do with the fact that the Indonesian people are pround of their country. When Louis travels through Bali to take pictures for his paintings, the local people enjoy that. Meanwhile, it is not special for them. They live with all that beauty, their rich culture and traditions every day. They are used to it. When Louis paints Balinese people, he tries to show them how beautiful and rich their culture is, how beautiful they are themselves. For Louis personal, it is important that he, while photographing and painting the people, can make a part of their personality his own. It is a search for beauty, mysticism, culture, folklore, very much related to daily life; the folklore our modern western society lost over the years.
That does not mean there is no beauty in the western world anymore. Louis Nagelkerke still finds it in theatre, dance and music. Most of his models here, as in Indonesia, are women. The erotic emanation plays a large role in this choice; all women Louis Nagelkerke paints are very sensual. But there is a lot more to it than just eroticism. It has to do with grace, a typical female motion, a certain attitude that can characterise a woman.
When Louis is painting men, the beauty of the body is important as well, but it is a different kind of beauty. A beauty less sensual, but fascinating all the same. A beauty that has to do with power, tension, motion, like in a dance.
Because of his high standards it is sometimes hard for Louis to find the right model. Never the less he often says: "Oh, there is so much I still want to paint!" And that is because the beauty the artist finds in so many different places will fortunately never come to an end.
Dr. Pamela Eshuis