Lefeber’s matryoshka

This artwork is inspired by the travels of D.W. (Dirk Willem) Lefeber (1894-1979) to Russia and the new varieties he developed from wild tulips. It tells the journey of Madame Lefeber, a tulip from the Pamir Mountains in Tajikistan, which ended up in a bulb shed in Lisse via Moscow. There, her strong genes were passed on to many new varieties. This artwork is related to the giant bulb ‘Madame Lefeber’. You can find the latter on the Keukenhof estate, near the castle. In 2024, the Keukenhof flower exhibition celebrates its 75th anniversary.  Dirk Lefeber played an essential role in the founding of this flower garden.


Sjoerd Blokker

Visual artist Sjoerd Blokker (*1982) from Hillegom realized these two art bulbs during the period 2022-2024. The works are owned by the D.W. Lefeber Memory Foundation.
Like ‘Madame Lefeber’ this smaller bulb is painted in Blokker’s recognizable surrealist style, where nothing is as it seems yet everything refers to the impressive life of Dirk Willem Lefeber. Each detail tells a part of his story in a dreamy manner. One of the main characters is the famous Madame Lefeber, the bright red tulip variety named after his spouse. The work is a temptation to lose oneself in the layered details; the life of Dirk Lefeber seen through the eyes of and painted with the feeling of the artist.

“Dirk Lefeber has lived his vision by believing in his dreams and having the courage to execute them. That made a huge impression on me,” says Sjoerd Blokker about his interpretation of the life’s work of Lefeber.