Bouke de Vries (1960) was born in Utrecht, NL
He lives and works in London, UK

Bouke de Vries studied at the Design Academy  Eindhoven, and Central St Martin’s, London. After working with John Galliano, Stephen Jones and Zandra Rhodes, he switched careers and studied ceramics conservation and restoration at West Dean College. Every day in his practice as a private conservator he was faced with issues and contradictions around perfection and worth: “The Venus de Milo’ is venerated despite losing her arms, but when a Meissen muse loses a finger she is rendered virtually worthless.”

Using his skills as a restorer (c.f. Ron Mueck’s model-maker skills), his ‘exploded’ artworks reclaim broken pots after their accidental trauma. He has called it ‘the beauty of destruction’. Instead of reconstructing them, he deconstructs them. Instead of hiding the evidence of this most dramatic episode in the life of a ceramic object, he emphasises their new status, instilling new virtues, new values, and moving their stories forward.

The more contemplative works echo the 17th- and 18th-century still-life paintings of his Dutch heritage, especially the flower paintings of the Golden Age, a tradition in which his hometown of Utrecht was steeped (de Heem, van Alst, van Huysum inter alia), with their implied decay. By incorporating contemporary items a new vocabulary of symbolism evolves.

These ‘dead natures’ – natures morts – give everyday household objects, a plate, a milk jug, a teapot, a modern poignancy that refers back to the vanitas and memento mori paintings of that period. An installation in de Vries’s London house is arranged in the manner of Daniel Marot with white Delft domestic pottery rescued in fragments from 17th- and 18th-century rubbish tips, now dug up and partially pieced together. Among them are two small artists’ paint pots with the pigment still in them, as possibly once used by – who knows? – Vermeer or Rembrandt.




  • 1978-1981 Design Academy, Eindhoven, NL
  • 1981-1982 Central School of Art, London, UK

Solo Exhibitions

  • 2019
    War and Pieces, Hillwood House, Washington D.C., USA
    War and Pieces, The Frick Pittsburgh, USA
  • 2018
    War and Pieces, Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, USA
    Nieuw Amsterdams Peil, Galerie Ron Mandos, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    Sometimes I Look East and Sometimes I Look West, Officina Saffi, Milan, Italy
    Un-Damaged, Musea Dal Ceramica Mondovi, Mondovi, Italy
  • 2017
    Fractured Images, Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London UK
    War and Pieces, The Harley Gallery, Worksop, UK
    War and Pieces, Belton Hall, Nottingham, UK

  • 2016 War and Pieces, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, Den Haag, NL
    War and Pieces, Hetjens Museum, Düsseldorf, DE
    War and Pieces, Berrington Hall, Berrington, UK
    Croome Park redefined, Installation piece for National Trust, Croome, Worcester, UK
    The Golden Box, Croome Court, UK
    Studying Human Activity Through the Recovery of Material Lecture, Galerie Ron Mandos, The Netherlands
  • 2015 CHengju International Craft Biennale, Cheongju, SK
  • 2014 Fragments, Chateau de Nyon, Nyon, FR
    Taiwan Ceramics Biennale, Taipei
    Threads of my life, Gloria Maria Gallery, Milan, IT
  • 2013 Art SOUTH, Southampton Art Gallery, Southampton, UK
    War and Pieces, Alnwick Castle, Alnwick, UK
    War and Pieces, Charlottenburg Palace, Berlin, DE
    Bouke de Vries: Bow Selector, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, UK
  • 2012 War and Pieces, Holbourne Museum, Bath, UK

Group Exhibitions

  • 2021 Art Rotterdam part#1 at the gallery, Galerie Ron Mandos, Amsterdam, NL
  • 2020 An exhibition with work by…, Witte de With Rotterdam, NL
    Booth Galerie Ron Mandos, Art Rotterdam 2020, Rotterdam, NL
  • 2019
    Beyond the vessel, Mesher Gallery Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
    A Tea journey, Compton Verney, UK
    Derived from The Decorative, Cheekwood Estate Nashville, Tennesee, USA
    The Precious Clay, Museum of Royal Worcester, Worcester, UK
    Taiwan Ceramics Biennale, Yingge, Taiwan
    Glitch, Kuntsi Museum, Vaasa, Finland
  • 2018
    Vasa Vasorum, Peters Projects, Santa Fe, USA
    Material Earth Ii, Myths, Materials And
    Metamorphoses, Messums Wiltshire, Tisbury, UK
    Revive, Remix, Respond, Frick Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, USA

  • 2017 MATERIAL: EARTH, Messums, Wiltshire, UK
  • 2016 Vernieuwd Verleden, Coda Museum, Apeldoorn, NL
    Asia-Amsterdam, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA, USA
    Re-Animate, Repair, Mend and Melt, Ferrin Contemporaray, North Adams, MA, USA
    Blue and White, Ariana Museum, Geneva, SW
    Skelet, Museum Beelden aan Zee, Den Haag, NL
    Portraits, Collyer Bristow Gallery, London, UK
    Hollandaise, New Art Projects, London, UK
  • 2015 Shared, Somerset House, London, UK
    My Blue China, Fondation D’Enterprise Bernardaud, Limoges, FR
    Sweet 18, Kasteel van Hingene, Hingene, BE
    Asia-Amsterdam, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem (MA), USA
  • 2014 Re-Used, Gallerie Ron Mandos, Amsterdam, NL
  • 2013 Anders, Historisch Museum, Haarlem, NL
    Portretten op Buitenplaats Beeckestijn, Buitenplaats Beeckesijn, Velsen, NL
    Beastly Hall, Hall House, Bexley, UK
  • 2012 Vanitas/Contemporary Reflections, Moscow MOMA, Moscow, RU
    Mono No Aware, Bo Lee Gallery, Bath, UK
    Bad For You, Shizaru Gallery, Londong, UK
    This Is London, Shizaru Gallery, London, UK
    4 the Korenbeurs Schiedam, Korenbeurs Schiedam
    Earthly Delights, Laleh June Gallery, Basel,CH
    Waste, Tanya Rumpf Gallery, Haarlem, NL
    Lots Wife, Salisbury Arts Centre, Salisbury, UK
    York City Art Gallery, York City Art Gallery, York, UK
    Between Dimension, The Prepresentation Of The Object, MIMA, Middlesbrough, UK
  • 2011 CRAFT Raiders of the lost arts, Pertwee, Anderson and Gold, London, UK
    The Return, The House of a Nobleman at Cornwall Terrace, London, UK
  • 2010 Questions of belonging, MIMA – Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, UK
    Contemporary eye, Crossovers Pallant house Gallery, Chichester, UK
    PAN, Amsterdam, NL
    Artissima, Turijn, IT
    Vanitas, All Visual Arts, London, UK
    The borrowed loop, Man&Eve, London, UK
    Ultra Kyoto, Kyoto, JP
    A grand tour of my mind, Gloria Maria Gallery, Milan, IT
    Miart, Milan, IT
    MurmurART, London, UK
    Things I made, things I found and made, Salon, London, UK
    ART Rotterdam, Rotterdam, NL
    Deconstructions, Galerie Ron Mandos, Amsterdam, NL
  • 2009 Emerging artists, Flora Fairbairn Projects, London, UK


National Museum of Norway, Norway
National Museums of Scotland
Philadelphia Museum, USA
Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar, The Netherlands
National Dutch ceramic museum Princessenhof, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands


Zabludowicz Collection, London
Collection Edgar J. and Clarissa Bronfman, New York, USA
Collection Hugo Brown, The Netherlands
Collection Elton John, London/Los Angeles
Collection Taiq Al Jaidah
Collection Kay Saatchi, Los Angeles
Collection Frances Reynolds, London
Collection Mizuho Bank, London
Drake collection, The Netherlands
Eneco, corporate collection, The Netherlands
LAM, The Netherlands
Le Chateau de Nyon, Nyon, Switzerland
MIMA, Middlesbrough
MONA, Tasmania
MUDAC, Lausanne, Switzerland
Ministry of foreign affairs The Netherlands
Pallant House Gallery, UK
Peabody Essex Museum, Salem
York Art Gallery, York, UK
Aberdeen Art Gallery, Aberdeen, Scotland
The Ariana, Geneva, Switzerland
Castle Hingene, Belgium