Anco Mali
No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist.

Oscar Wilde
biography  |  gallery  |  exhibitions  |  collections

Artist Biography

The Netherlands, February 1926- December 2018
Art history Amsterdam, Atelier Daan Bekking Amsterdam , Ecole des Beaux Arts Nimes

Niece of the early 20st century romantic painter Christiaan Mali, Anco Mali developed her own style in modern robust monumental oil on canvas, fragile fata morgana like watercolors and crystal clear abstract glass compositions. Anco Mali amazes and touches the soul by her view of beauty on earth.

Mali attended primary school, the “Vondelschool”, at the same time as the sisters Anne and Margot Frank between 1932 and 1938. It was a time political tensions were rising in Europe. The international and national tension forced discussions to heat up in the intellectual and artistic circles of Amsterdam.

Anco’s father was an evening-student at the famous Rietveld Academy where he learned to shape copper objects. Rietveld and Berlage were his inspirations and some of his creations are kept in museum collections. The Mali-family circle of friends included contemporary Dutch artists, Jewish artists in Amsterdam. Writers, painters, film directors and poets were frequently visiting and discussing art, politics and life at her home.

Against this backdrop, Anco grew up within a happy, modern and liberal family. From a very early age on, she was invited to work as an apprentice painter in various ateliers in Amsterdam. Two of her favourite masters were Daan Bekking and Tjerk Bottema.

Margot Frank was a classmate. Anco published a book about that period in 2005: “Margot Frank en de anderen”. Her memories are those of a non-Jewish young woman who looks at the world around her in which the lives of Jewish and non-Jewish people are interwoven while the madness of the period intervenes and alters perception.

As a young woman she travelled to Italy and the other parts of Europe. Anco Mali studied art history. She got fascinated by architecture, an element that can be found throughout her paintings. Mali painted her entire life. Oil on canvas and watercolours are her preferred techniques. Anco Mali lived with her family in the Netherlands, Africa and the South of France and got inspired by those regions.

“Painting and creating became a must and a part of her life for Anco. She lived her life to find and express the essence of beauty in nature, in buildings and in human beings. Her concept of the essence of beauty is without compromise and far from artificial. In one of her last series “The Great Rivers of NL” her work is surrealistic and landscape and architecture merge in a monumental synthesis.”

Anco Mali developped the following series:

Anco studied at the Beaux Arts in Nimes and became a ceramist.
Anco worked as a journalist and critic of the arts. 
Anco wrote 6 books that were published by Aspekt BV. See also