Johannes Vermeer Award 2011 to Dutch Photographer Erwin Olaf

The Dutch Secretary of State for Culture, Halbe Zijlstra, awarded photographer Erwin Olaf the 2011 Johannes Vermeer Prize. Erwin Olaf was nominated for this prize because of the high quality of his entire oeuvre. It is the third time the Johannes Vermeer Award has been won by a Dutch artist.

In the eighties Olaf gained rcognition as a photographer with his series Squares and Chessmen. For Chessmen Olaf received the prize for European Photography.
Later, in the nineties, Olaf produced several other series such as Fashion Victims and Royal Blood. His early work can be perceived as bold and provocative, with nudes and bondage clothing. However, in his later work such as Hope and Grief, the vulnerability and loneliness of the human being takes the overhand.
Alongside his private work, he also worked on commercial contracts including Levi's, Microsoft and Nokia. Recently he portrayed Dutch Princess Máxima for her 40th birthday.

The jury panel of the Johannes Vermeer Prize consists of Victor Halberstadt (Chairman), Judith Belinfante, Janine van den Ende, Hans Cheap and Paul Schnabel. The jury commends Erwin Olaf for his extensive and unique work and his ability to renew his work. According to the jury Olaf 'became the author of work that exudes the passion for the profession, but also a work that is exceptionally rich in quality'.

The Johannes Vermeer Prize is a Dutch state award for the arts, established to honor outstanding artistic Dutch talent. The award includes a cash prize of 100,000 euros, meant for the creation of a special project. The prize may be awarded to artists working in the Netherlands from all disciplines, from dance to design, fashion to music and writing to painting. Olaf is the third winner of the Johannes Vermeer Award. In 2010 the prize was awarded to film director Alex van Warmerdam. In 2009 the prize was awarded to opera director Pierre Audi.
The official presentation of the Johannes Vermeer Prize will take place on Monday, October 31, 2011 in The Prinsenhof in Delft.

For more information about the Johannes Vermeer Prize please visit the official website or read the official press release.