Rens Lipsius presents his artworks along with work of others in the 7 Ideal Artist Houses he realized worldwide: the largest–in New York –was sold in june 2012 as a total concept by the Raphaël De Niro group; Rens Lipsius’ Ideal Artist House-7–at Herengracht 254, Amsterdam–was presented to the public at December 8th, 2012. The concept of the Ideal Artist House took off in Paris ten years ago when Rens Lipsius started working with an American foundation.

He offered his studio for an exhibition space, and it became known as Rens Lipsius’ Ideal Artist House—a radically new space for profiling art and artist, a space where art comes first and commerce is led to follow.“Humanism as Medium” from Rens Lipsius’ Ideal Artist House is inscribed within a humanist approach– a philosophical space that is at once mental and sensual–a reconstructed natural environment, a total art.  This is why, as an experience, the viewer is invited to spend time to achieve intimacy with the oeuvre, to reach the light of what is essential…   

"The houses are an attempt to extend the idea of living with art to an essential everyday need…I am hoping–perhaps arrogantly–to create a need for a painting similar to my teenage daughter’s need for an i-phone…never to part"
"The impetus for these projects are my studios: from the very beginning they would become–call it–clubs, institutes…in other words, places for being and exchange."
"Art is first about looking, then making, and then about possessing… traditional venues of profiling art and art commerce should not be cast in stone either…"

The first Ideal Artist House project was Lipsius’ former studio at Villa Riberolle in Paris.The largest to-date at Bleecker Street in New York was sold in june 2012 as “a total concept”. The Amsterdam canal house was presented to the public on December 8, 2012.


Villa Riberolle


This was the first of the experimental spaces that became known as The Ideal Artist Houses. It evolved from Lipsius’ studio of the 90s into a live-work space for others.

"At Villa Riberolle I made my first architectural work directed to light and space, The Lightwall.  A  5m x 5m wall with a long 15m x 0.60m high window was cleared and painted to serve as a screen for studying light changes. I have been fascinated ever since… Luckily, I took a few photographs at the time."

Villa Riberolle became a precursor to the The Ideal Artist House architecture, and The Lightwall lead to The Light Box at Varick Street in New York and The Light Observation Field in Friesland.

Quai de Valmy


This space, designed by Rens Lipsius from the ground-up, was originally used by the American ICAR Foundation. ICAR’s program focused on an exploration of the connection between art and exhibition space and was closely linked to Rens Lipsius’ artistic vision.  The space, often referred to as “the ideal artist studio”,  became popular in Paris as a place of exchange for people from different fields.

"Following the example of my studio at  Villa Riberolle, I curated a three-year program–Art/Research 2000– of museum-like exhibitions, concerts and conferences for Icar. It was of great interest to select the works of other artists and install them in a particular fashion in my space."
"In the design, I was inspired by the range of materials and architectural elements of an old industrial building on the Canal Saint Marten. The open-plan layout aloud to maximize the flow of natural light and created a sense of transparency and of ambiguity between the interior and exterior."
"Conceptually, the idea of an art and research center operating within the framework of my studio, my workspace really, was interestingly subversive.."



This project is a conversion of a local woonboerderij (small Dutch farm) adapted for living and working. A striking feature of the design is its location next to the land-art project Light Observation Field.

"For the site-specific arthouse, I chose a prefab wood house from the Carpates: I visited some 12 factories and chose one still working in the old school manner–sawing wood at full moon, etc.; this gave the name The CuCkoosHouse to the place. The house was positioned as an observation center  vis–à–vis the Light Observation Field."

The Studies for Prefab Houses and Sleeping Cabins are part of this project.

Light Observation Field


In addition to the Ideal Artist Houses themselves, Rens Lipsius worked with landscape in the Netherlands: he delineated a rectangular grass field by planting trees to create an “observation field for light changes.” This work is closely linked to his large series of paintings–Standing Figures and Abstract Panels.

"The idea of a rectangular field with trees as a sort of frame can be traced to my early notes. This 65m x150m field was perfect for realizing the project: we equalized the soil and seeded 24 sorts of biological grasses, a row of 63 oaks we planted and a long ditch delineated a perfect rectangle."



To visit the Ideal Artist House no.5 website, click here.

This Ideal Artist House is a prototype for a small residential conversion or new construction.

"Here I organized and took part in extensive land works: to enlarge and clear the pond and the mote, create new paths, enhance the position of the house as an observation center, etc.  I literally spent days pollarding willows, planting hedges, and seeding wild flower and grass borders…And so we ended it up with  “The Ideal Artist Pond”, “The Wandering Stones”–ancient boulders strewn across the lawn, and even “The Ideal Artist Shower” (with hot water “on tap”)."

All architectural features were designed by Lipsius and custom made by local craftsmen. The house is used experimentally for an art installation: each room has its own particular artwork selected by Lipsius.

"I see this–and hope others would agree– as a different approach to living in our time and space."



The Bleecker Street space was sold in june 2012 as “a total concept” through the Raphaël De Niro group. For the full write-up click here.

"In the spirit of the The Ideal Artist House concept, I decided to redesign this 300 m2 New York penthouse as an apartment-installation and entertainment space–to be enjoyed in the company of others."
"The space had an open, very New York, architecture that gave a lot of  freedom to play with art and  yet remained utilitarian: long benches of 30cm x 220cm were added to present large art works, and small libraries were built to accommodate smaller works of the “Roses and Cauliflower” series."

The benches and other special objects are included among the Objets Dérivés series.



This project involved a total renovation of the 1606 Amsterdam canal house space.

"My goal was to turn the dark, damp, closed spaces of the interior, badly disfigured by earlier renovations, into a contemporary arthouse suitable for living in.  So I used a lot of high-tech materials and playful architecture throughout.  As every space has its material, its light, its solitude–this historical place had to retain, actually regain, its essence as a canal house of Amsterdam: a living space and a work space in one…with even– I thought– a wash place in the subbasement…"

Many utilitarian elements were designed specifically for this space and can be seen under Objets Dérivés.