René Daniëls’s work was always light in tone. A painting by him was like a fairy tale full of mysterious references and repeated motifs. It might all hinge on the pure pleasure of painting or on his ironic comments on affairs of the arts, but it was always lighthearted and light and full of imagination. As Pam Emmerik says in the afterword to this edition, ‘you enter a world that is not your own, but where you are nonetheless made welcome’.
The ‘unavoidable notes’ of the title are replicas of original works executed in 1987, drawings in white on black that were work in progress until the artist was struck down by a severe brain haemorrhage. In 2006 the decision was taken to go ahead with the original plan to publish them. The book does not pretend to be anything more than a collection of the artist’s sketches. The sheets are as black as new blackboards, an effect that the printer has managed to produce most beautifully by printing twice in black and PMS dark grey.
The choice of the illustration on the cover is a clever one. The book’s title has been borrowed from the magical lines of text in this drawing. Indeed, one might even argue that the title ought to have been repeated in the slightly old-fashioned Egyptienne-like font that has been used. Here the lightness that was always so appreciated is conspicuously absent.