Bas Jan Ader


Dutch-Californian, born in 1942 in the Netherlands; he was last seen in 1975 when he took off in the smallest boat to ever sail the Atlantic. His estate is managed by Grimm Gallery, Amsterdam.

Bas Jan Ader was born to idealistic ministers in the Dutch Reformed Church on April 19, 1942. His father was executed by the Nazis for harboring Jewish refugees when Ader was only two years old. A rebellious student, he failed art school at the Rietveld Academy, where friend Ger van Elk recalls that he would use a single piece of paper for the entire semester, erasing his drawings as soon as they were finished. At the age of 19 he hitchhiked to Morocco, where he signed on as a deckhand on a yacht heading for America.  In 1975 Ader embarked on what he called “a very long sailing trip.” The voyage was to be the middle part of a triptych called “In Search of the Miraculous,” a daring attempt to cross the Atlantic in a 12½ foot sailboat. He claimed it would take him 60 days to make the trip, or 90 if he chose not to use the sail. Six months after his departure, his boat was found, half-submerged off the coast of Ireland, but Bas Jan had vanished.


Bas Jan Ader
Bas Jan Ader
Winschoten, 1942 - 1975

Past Exhibitions

Life World. Photography from the CIAC Collection

Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo
27/02/2017 — 30/04/2017


Castello di Rivoli
14/03/2017 — 23/07/2017

Bas Jan Ader

Metro Pictures
21/06/2016 — 09/08/2016

Homo Ludens

Galeria Luisa Strina
31/08/2016 — 05/11/2016

Not All That Falls Has Wings

ARTER 09/06/2016 — 18/09/2016

Contacts & Details

City of birth: Winschoten Country of birth: Netherlands Date of birth: 1942 - 1975