Tinguely never had an exhibition in Maastricht itself, which is why the focus here, given the proximity to the Dutch-German border, will be on the story of the artist’s ties to those Dutch, Belgian and Rhenish cities that we will not be visiting on our tour.

Tinguely had taken part in the group show Internationale Sezession at Schloss Morsbroich, Leverkusen (Germany) as early as 1956 and his works were exhibited there again in 1959 and 1960. June 1961 saw Daniel Spoerri present his Koffer at Der Spiegel, a gallery in Cologne, and Tinguely, along with other artists in Spoerri’s circle, contributed a small, portable work to that show, too. While the Zero happening at Galerie Schmela in Düsseldorf was repeated as Zero expositie demonstratie at Henk Peters’ Galerie A in Arnhem in December 1961, Rudolf Zwirner in Cologne devoted one of its first exhibitions at its new premises on Albertusstrasse to the Swiss artist Jean Tinguely with a September 1964 show called Métamécaniques und Wasserplastiken.

Galerie Reckermann, also in Cologne, became another important address for Tinguely, who took part in both Five Pioneers of Kinetic Art: Pol Bury, Alexander Calder, George Rickey, Takis, Jean Tinguely (late 1979) and Nouveau Réalisme: Nice – Milan – Paris – Düsseldorf (mid-1981). In December 1982, the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels opened a Tinguely retrospective that had previously been shown at both Kunsthaus Zürich and the Tate in London. The exhibition was a huge success at all its ports of call and attracted large numbers of visitors. Tinguely by then was riding an extraordinary wave of success that not only paid handsome dividends commercially, but also made him enormously popular. The Tinguely retrospectives therefore became must-see blockbuster events, including the one in Brussels. Tinguely did much of the work that would normally have been the job of the curator; he even[BS1] had a say in the choice of works and where they were positioned inside the gallery, which was undoubtedly a factor in the lightness of touch that made this series of retrospectives so special.

In 1986, not long after Tinguely had pulled through a risky heart operation, the collectors Monique and Roger Nellens staged a show of his works in the casino at Knokke-Heist. Knokke had been a place of significance to Tinguely ever since 1973, when he and his assistant Rico Weber, along with friends such as Jacky Ickx, Daniel Abadie and Étienne Baulieu built the Dragon de Knokke by, with and for Niki de Saint Phalle, on the grounds of the Nellens’ own estate. Inside the dragon are several works by Tinguely as well as a fresco by their mutual friend Keith Haring, dating from 1980.

Back in Brussels, Eric Van de Weghe’s gallery in late 1990 hosted a show called de la Chasse de Tinguely, featuring sculptures incorporating bones, skulls and animal pelts. Tinguely evidently took great pleasure in combining these trophies of small- and big-game hunters to create ever new monsters.