When Emo Verkerk (Amsterdam, 1955) reads a biography and the protagonist moves him, he paints a portrait of that person. It all started in 1977 with a number of portraits of Francis Bacon. As a philosophy major, Verkerk read a bundle of interviews with Bacon by art critic David Sylvester and was inspired. The way Bacon spoke of his art, struck Verkerk as philosophy in practice. One year later he decided to become a painter and enrolled in Ateliers ’63 in Haarlem (1978-1980) then lead by Jan Dibbets.After his portraits of Francis Bacon many would follow: from George Simenon to Julius Caesar and from Pablo Picasso to Kamagurka. Apart from historical figures, Verkerk also paints portraits of people in his immediate surroundings. Sometimes he even paints a self portrait. From time to time he will paint landscapes and he also creates sculptures. Animals, mainly birds are amongst his subjects also Verkerk quickly rose to prominence amongst art critics and curators. Solo exhibitions in reputable museums soon followed, such as in: Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, Fries Museum, Bonnefanten Museum Maastricht, Museum Voorlinden, Centraal Museum Utrecht, Boijmans van Beuningen and the Marian Goodman Gallery in New York, amongst others.