Viktor IV


Viktor IV (1929 – 1986)

A striking artist from Amsterdam: Viktor IV. Born in New York as Walter Karl Gluck, he spent a long time traveling through countries such as Mexico and Peru, working in Korea and Japan and afterward many countries in Europe before settling in 1961 in Amsterdam. In the heart of the city, on the Amstel, stood his old sailing ship, a unique view in itself, covered with a variety of huts, flags, rafts and other assorted wooden structures. Ducks, chickens and cats also found a place on the ship, and these cats were the probable inspiration for the work “Cats Are Not Important”, which can be viewed in the Cat Cabinet and is one of the many works produced out of ‘The New Amsterdam School of Ikon Painting’.

The murder of President Kennedy was the inspiration for the first painting in his career, when he realized that there were other options to express thoughts or events. He made a text of the murder in white typeface on a black background. This work was the birth of the artist “Viktor IV”.

Other sources of inspiration were the primitive lifestyle of artist Anton Heyboer and the thought process of American Henry David Thoreau. Viktor IV constantly sought contact with people and materials and he found many subjects in the city. His feet bare, dressed in black with his white beard, he was a striking figure. Through these journeys of discovery there was always enough inspiration for his logbooks, the so-called “Ikons”. Pages full of text – stories, memories, descriptions of events, fables or whatever came to him – and drawings. Eventually these were compiled into books with titles such as “The Big Fool”, “Thank You Silent Sun” and “The Post Is A Perhaps”.

Aside from the Ikons Viktor IV is also known for the clocks named Bulgar Time, where the numbers counted leftwards and the clock hands moved to the left. Many of his works can be found at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, NY Carlsberg Glyptotek and the Louisiana Museum in Denmark, but also in many galleries around the world, including his birthplace New York. In 1988 his Danish wife Ina Munck published a monograph about him, with the help of Ad Petersen. The organization Viktor IV was founded in 2006 with the purpose of making his work more known.