Marijke Koger

Born:
Nov 06, 1943

About

Marijke Koger is a Dutch artist who was a founding member of The Fool, a design collective in the late 60s. From Wikipedia:

The Fool were a Dutch design collective and band in the psychedelic style of art in British popular music in the late 1960s. The group was named in reference to the Fool tarot card.

The original members were Dutch artists Simon Posthuma (1 February 1939 – 28 February 2020) and Marijke Koger (born 6 November 1943), who were discovered by photographer Karl Ferris among the hippie community on the Spanish island of Ibiza in 1966. He took photographs of clothes they designed, and sent them to London where they were published in The Times. Ferris took The Fool back to London, and together they opened a studio, with the Dutch artists producing clothes and art, and Ferris pursuing photography. Barry Finch (10 April 1943 – 11 May 2021), a maverick public relations man in the music scene, discovered the couple’s talents and working for Brian Epstein got them their first designer deals in the industry. When the offers kept coming, Marijke Koger insisted that Josje Leeger (Yosha 25 September 1943-4 Juli 1991), her best friend and a fashion designer with whom she had collaborated in Amsterdam, come over to join the two. Barry and Yosha Finch became a couple and so The Fool was born.



Fashion designer and artist Marijke Koger of The Fool in her Amsterdam studio,1965, by Cor Jaring – From Acquaintance with the band “Dopey” – The Beatles History (beatles-chronology.ru)

Designing a programme for the Saville Theatre

In 1965, Brian Epstein, The Beatles’ manager, leased the Saville Theatre, presenting both drama and rock and roll shows. In late 1966, he commissioned Marijke Koger to design a programme for the Sunday rock concerts at the Saville.

Through “Mayfair Publications”, headed by Simon Hayes and Ray Williams with their associates Barry Finch, (eventually part of “The Fool” collective) and Ben Stagg, (who became our manager), “The Beatles” manager Brian Epstein commissioned me to design a program for his “Saville Theatre” Sunday rock concerts. He loved the artwork I came up with that depicted Apollo & Athena attended by the nine muses: Clio-History, Euterpe-Music, Thalia-Comedy, Melpomene-Tragedy. Terpsichore-Dance, Erator-Love Poetry, Polymnia-Painting, Urania-Astronomy and Calliope-Epic Poetry. Thus it was printed for distribution at the concerts in a different color every week.

Marijke Koger – From 8. SWINGING LONDON – (marijkekogerart.com)

By early 1967 [Simon Posthuma and I] had befriended the charismatic Simon Hayes, owner of “Mayfair Public Relations”, who represented among others Brian Epstein and Robert Stigwood, CREAM’s manager. Stigwood was looking to promote the power trio’s upcoming American tour in a bold and new way and had seen the poster I designed for Epstein’s Saville Theatre’s Sunday night rock concerts, which intrigued him and indirectly led to a commission. Barry Finch, an associate with “Mayfair” (and later a member of the Fool collective), took me and my portfolio to meet with Robert Stigwood and we discussed designing stage costumes and graphic promotional material for the band. When I suggested to Stigwood that it would be really cool to paint their instruments as well he was delighted and commissioned the lot on the spot.

Marijke Koger – From 9. The FOOL SG – (marijkekogerart.com)
Programme for the Saville Theatre, created by Marijke Koger
From The Beatles, The Fool, and Apple Boutique (arrivewithouttravelling.com) – Concert programmes designed by the Fool for Brian Epstein’s Saville Theatre shows.

Working on the “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album cover

Marijke Koger caught the attention of John Lennon and Paul McCartney when they saw the Saville Theatre programme. This led to a meeting between Marijke and Simon Posthuma with The Beatles in January 1967. The band later hired them to work on the artwork for the “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album cover. However, art dealer Robert Fraser strongly recommended that The Beatles work with Peter Blake and his then-wife Jann Haworth instead. Peter Blake and Jann Haworth ultimately created the final artwork for the album cover.

One evening Mal Evans, the Beatles’ assistant called to say John Lennon & Paul McCartney wanted to meet Simon and myself so a few days later they knocked on the door and like an apparition suddenly stood in our living room in St. Stephens Gardens. They had seen the “Saville Theatre” program cover I created for Brian Epstein and were intrigued by the artwork. There they were, sitting in our living room with a dazed expression on their faces, blowing their minds out over the “Wonderwall” we had painted. I nervously served tea and we listened to the :Incredible String Band” album on a scratchy reel to reel. Then we climbed upstairs to our big studio to look at more artwork. There was electricity in the air as they looked around in amazement and we sat on the floor chatting and smoking a doobie. Soon thereafter they introduced us to George Harrison and Ringo Starr and a friendship developed between us and the “Fab Four”.

They invited us to the recording session party for “A Day in the Life” at the EMI studio on Abbey Road on February 10, 1967, which was to be released as a single June 1st. I danced around with sparkles and blowing bubbles enjoying myself very much, it was great fun. I have never been much of talker and Simon with his “gift of the gab” was always our spokesperson and interacted with the celebrity participants. After that we were commissioned to work on sketches for the Sgt. Pepper album cover. I painted a rough idea on paper in gouache, the final artwork to be done after approval. It was just an initial concept sketch but everyone assumed it was the final artwork and established elitist art dealer Robert Fraser rejected it; he preferred to promote an artist of his own stable and ultimately only my inner disk sleeve design was used. However, after all, the final “Sgt. Pepper” cover collage by Peter Blake turned out great!

Marijke Koger – From 10. MEET THE BEATLES – (marijkekogerart.com)

The two Beatles John and Paul didn’t just knock on on their door it took me Barry finch to arrange this appointment and it was me that brought them there

Barry Finch – From The Fool 2021 – An interview with Simon Posthuma of The Fool Q:… | Facebook, March 2012
From The Beatles–The Fool, unused artwork for the Sgt.Pepper album cover, 1967 | English Literature, History, Science, Children’s Books and Illustrations Online | Books & Manuscripts | Sotheby’s (sothebys.com) – Psychedelic landscape commissioned for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Band – enamelled paints heightened in pen and ink, depicting a coastal dreamscape at sunset with birds in the foreground (owl, parrot, peacock) and a pool with lilies and a fountain shaped as a mermaid, fireworks in the upper right, two white panels (oval in the upper left and rectangular in the lower right) left blank for text, on paper, the sheet extended at all four margins then laid down on card, 407 x 717mm, with a circular sticker depicting a sun and stars on the reverse, [1967], mounted on pine board inscribed and decorated in red fibre tip on the reverse by Ringo Starr (“To Hill | We Love you | Billy S. | and fam. | xxxx | 87-67”), signing as Billy Shears, Ringo’s alter ego in Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band), with a decoration of stars and moons, in a decorated gilt frame with psychedelic themes inspired by the landscape labelled “Original Cover Design for the Sgt. Pepper’s Album by ‘The Fool'”, frame 695 x 1050mm, some wear with loss

Creating “The Fool”

Around that time, Marijke Koger, Simon Posthuma, and Barry Finch came together and named themselves “The Fool.” Yosha Leeger, Marijke’s best friend and a fashion designer with whom Marijke had worked in Amsterdam, also joined them.

The name the Fool came from my interest in the Tarot, which was introduced to me by our friend Graham Bond, the great organist /songwriter of the Graham Bond Organization. Around the same time all this was happening, one of my gigs was for Brian Epstein, designing the programs for his Sunday evening concerts at the Saville Theatre, so I did that and then a lot of people around him saw it. Mal Evans, the Beatles roadie, brought John and Paul to our house one evening and they just flipped out over our painted armoire (which was later used as part of the set design Simon and I created for the Wonderwall film) and our paintings and designs. They were just blown away by it all so they wanted to be involved with us, and you know, we started doing things… 

Marijke Koger – From “Electrical Banana: Masters of Psychedelic Art“, February 2012

Creating the outfits for the “All You Need Is Love” TV performance

They continued their collaboration with The Beatles, creating the outfits The Beatles wore for the “Our World” TV broadcast.

Our relationship with “The Beatles“ continued. George and Pattie were planning to attend the “Monterey Pop Festival” June 16-18, ‘67 for which Yosha and I designed a purple velvet coat for George (now in the permanent collection at the “Victoria & Albert” museum) and several outfits for Pattie. She liked our clothes and happily did some modeling and photo shoot sessions with us. All this caused Felicity Green of the “Daily Mirror” to wonder: “Where did Pattie get that gear?”

That same month Yosha and I worked on outfits for the Beatles to wear to the first live Satellite TV production “Our World” featuring the song “All You Need Is Love “ which aired June 25, ‘67 and the Fool were invited to join the session. The event was an exuberant and exciting experience with many musicians, rock stars and other celebrities participating. One of them was the gorgeous Geraldine Chaplin, who also did some modeling for us later. I was playing my tambourine and am still credited for that in discographies.

Marijke Koger – From 10. MEET THE BEATLES – (marijkekogerart.com)
From Press conference with The Beatles • Jun 24, 1967
From Meet the Beatles for Real: Rehearsal Time! – Paul McCartney with Barry Finch, part of The Fool, 1967

Side projects

Then John Lennon called and asked Simon and me to paint his upright piano, a relic from his youth, so we stayed at his “Kenwood” home in Weybridge for about a week to do that. The piano was decorated all over with landscapes, colored spectrum bands, wavy color forms and esoteric symbols. On the left side panel I put the Tarot card for Libra, which was John’s astrological sign and on the right side the Tarot card for Virgo, which was Cynthia’s sign.

The keyboard was painted as well, according to Goethe’s theory of the alliance between musical notes and the colors of the spectrum. I appreciated John’s alertness, sarcastic wit and cool. He enjoyed watching us paint and wanted to know all about the theory of the correspondence between color and sound that we talked about. Eventually the piano ended up in George’s possession and is now with his son Dahni at “Friar Park”.

While playing ball in the garden with four year old Julian one morning, I came upon a fabulous painted gypsy wagon and jokingly mentioned to John he could paint his Phantom Rolls Royce like that. He thought this was a great idea and promptly contacted “JP Fallon Coachworks”, the decorators of the caravan, and had it done. So, contrary to popular belief, The Fool did not paint the Phantom. Recently the caravan was found in a field, reduced to rubble, and then restored by a charity organization “Bring Peace to Life” and I was commissioned to create a painting as a backdrop to accompany the restored caravan on tour to raise money for charities in 2020. The tour was postponed because of the Coronavirus pandemic.

We had some exhilarating rides in the Phantom though, like going to Brian Epstein’s party at Kingsley Hill in Sussex to celebrate Sgt. Pepper’s release with a convoy of cars, including George’s mini that he had painted with Tantric symbols. John was playing Procol Harum’s “Whiter Shade of Pale” over and over, he liked that song so much! LSD was doled out to the guests and two foot long placards with the legend “Safe as Milk” were pasted all over the mansion to reassure the guests that all was groovy… On August 27.’67, the shocking news was announced that Brian Epstein had passed away to everyone’s great shock. That same night the Jimi Hendrix Experience played the “Saville Theater” with Arthur Brown, but the ship had lost its Captain…

Life went on and Paul Mc Cartney invited us to his house on Cavendish Avenue several times to listen to the new songs he was working on in his home music studio. On one of these occasions Paul’s housekeeper treated us to tea and cake but it soon became clear that the sugar cubes were not as innocent as they looked. I had brought my dachshund Amiga and took her roaming through the garden where I went right through the looking glass because it was full of “Alice in Wonderland” statues peaking out of the foliage.

Paul and I were very attracted to each other right from the start of our meeting. The sparks were flying every time we met which disconcerted Simon of course. After Simon’s escapades I felt no qualms however but he did not think what was good for the gander was good for the goose and he had the nerve to tell Paul to lay off. On occasion I read the Tarot for Paul and the death card came up several times, which worried him. I explained that the card meant renewal and rebirth but it is sad that death knocked at his door several times in real life, no one can escape sorrow! I noticed empathy in the way he dealt with people, which is expressed in the songs he wrote and he loved animals, I could really relate to that.

Marijke Koger – From 10. MEET THE BEATLES – (marijkekogerart.com)

Meeting Linda Eastman

When Linda Eastman came to town from New York for an assignment on the London scene for “Rolling Stone” magazine she stayed in our guestroom for a few weeks, dating Simon Hayes who was our manager at that time. Since I have been a vegetarian from childhood for ethical reasons and the others in the house followed suit, at least while I was around, I suppose she took this to heart and became a vegetarian herself. Linda and I got along well and she took some nice pictures of us on Primrose Hill. Little did we know she would get married to Paul a year or so later.

Marijke Koger – From 10. MEET THE BEATLES – (marijkekogerart.com)
Photo by Linda McCartney

Creating the costumes for “Magical Mystery Tour”

Later in the year, The Fool created the outfits for the “Magical Mystery Tour” TV special, especially the ones used in the “I Am The Walrus” sequence.

The Beatles also needed some costumes for the “Magical Mystery Tour” film they were working on, so Yosha and I created those by hand. The animal costumes were rented from a theatrical company. Although we considered our exclusive handmade outfits to be another art form with the medium being textiles instead of paint, fashion designs cannot be copyrighted according to world wide patent laws. The BBC showed the film on December 26, 1967 to mixed reviews but I liked it. George was playing the “Rocky” guitar he had painted himself and Ringo splashed some groovy graffiti on his kick drum. […]

The “Magical Mystery Tour” premiere was celebrated with a fancy Ball Masque at “The Royal Lancaster Hotel”. The whole film crew and all the Beatles’ friends and usual assistants, including “The Fool” and Graham Nash were invited. Seated around large cloth covered tables bordering a spacious dance floor, the “Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band” (whose song was featured in the movie) played on stage. Everyone had rented costumes from a theatrical wardrobe warehouse. John was a Teddy Boy with pomaded quoif, George a cavalier a la d’Artagnan, Ringo a Regency dandy and Paul a Cockney Pearl King in suit and cap completely covered in mother of pearl buttons. Simon wore a star spangled magician’s cape and Yosha and Barry had gorgeous Chinese empiric outfits. I wore a sky blue organza Cinderella fairy gown and Graham Nash was a Renaissance Prince including an elaborate chaperon with liripipe. We were served great food and drinks and danced the night away until my beads fell off, scattering all over the dance floor early in the morning…

Marijke Koger – From 10. MEET THE BEATLES – (marijkekogerart.com)
From Magical Mystery Tour | The Beatles
From The Beatles History (beatles-chronology.ru)

Launching the Apple Shop

Towards the end of 1967, The Beatles decided to launch a clothes shop and asked The Fool to create the collection. This was the penultimate collaboration between The Fool and The Beatles (in early 1968, they would collaborate on the “Wonderful” film with George Harrison).

We started an Apple clothes shop because we were now dressing in such interesting clothes, and the Fool were making a lot of them. So we said, “Could you make a few pieces that we could take to other people and they could manufacture stuff to your designs?”

Paul McCartney – From “Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now” by Barry Miles, 1997

The Baker Street APPLE headquarters building was a dreary affair and the Beatles wanted to do something extra-ordinary with it so they approached us to brain storm the project. We met with the four of them and Brian Epstein in the upper floor offices and a general proposal was worked out that we would paint the building’s exterior and interior and design a manufactured “pret-a-porter” boutique clothing line for ladies, men and children. Apple would also print some of our paintings as lithographs for sale at the venue.

The Carnaby Street culture was a huge influence. As images came to my mind I first made colored concept sketches for the exterior three story high Apple mural as well as the interior staircase design, something out of 1001 nights, for their approval. At the follow-up meeting with Brian Epstein and the solicitors, contract documents were signed and it was decided to open the boutique on December 7, 1967.

Since we had to move around a lot we needed a car and Simon & Barry decided on a used 1961 Bentley in excellent condition even though Yosha and I thought a Mini Cooper would be handier and less expensive. However, there it was, so we had the Bentley painted with the Sun, Moon and Stars emblem on the doors, a blue roof with yellow stars and rose tinted windows; it was a beautiful thing.

John suggested the first thing needed was a poster incorporating the slogan “A is for Apple” to advertise and promote the Apple boutique’s upcoming opening. I conceived of it as a magician offering an apple to the observer, then painted it in gouache on board. Simon helped with the green spectral background and gemstone execution. Everyone raved about it and it was consequently printed as an unlimited edition lithograph.

Apple also produced thirteen other lithographs of our existing original paintings and gouaches as well as some prints by other artists such as Alan Aldridge and Martin Sharp. Outfits by designers Lord John, Tara Brown and others could also be purchased at Apple.

The Genie on the west wall of the Apple building came to me as a vision in a dream, representing a synthesis of the mythologies of different cultures and ethnicities, influenced by hallucinogens. I considered how to make everything happen in a timely manner so for the exterior I proposed to use the grid technique to transfer the design to the wall, the best choice for this design. The grid method involved drawing a grid over my reference image, (a line version of the concept sketch) and then a grid of equal ratio on the white primed wall surface of the building.

We marked the desired size increments across the top, bottom and both sides of the wall and then used a snap-line to “draw” the lines across the wall. After I could draw the image outline in black paint on the wall, focusing on one square at a time, until the entire image had been transferred. Thereafter it was colored in like a coloring book referring to the original sketch. All the murals were painted with high gloss oil based enamel house paint, (now outlawed because of its lead content).

The exterior was completed over one weekend, executed by the members of the Fool and a few art students whose names I don’t recall, except for Mickey Finn, later the drummer for Marc Bolan. Simon painted the graduating spectrum panels on the pillars and lintel stretching over the entrance and beneath the windows of the building. Monday morning the spectacular mural caused a traffic jam and the respectable burgers of Baker Street mumbled “what is the world coming to”…. Everyone now knows that Apple never obtained a permit and the city counsel of Westminster ordered the mural painted over after seven months.

The interior murals were painted “free hand” by Simon and myself in a few weeks. We always did work well together. Yosha and I designed all the clothing, chose the materials and had them manufactured from our sketches. While Simon and I were busy painting, Yosha, as dedicated to hard work as I am, was in charge of the manufacturing of the clothing line and Barry overlooked the construction by carpenters of the staircase and was a general liaison/quarter master.

We thought it was important to have multi-ethnic mannequins and these were custom ordered for the window displays and once installed, caused some disturbing negative reactions in the press. When the manufactured garments arrived we did some publicity photo shoots of the outfits with the photographers Ronald Traeger and Karl Ferris, modeled by Patti Boyd, Cynthia Lennon, Maureen Starsky, Jenny Boyd, Anke Ferris, Charlotte Martin and several other beautiful models.

Once all the painting on the Apple building was done, because Simon and I had connections in Morocco, we made a short weeklong trip to Marrakesh to buy more necessary inventory for Apple such as local musical instruments, ethnic jewelry and accessories. John’s old school friend Pete Shotton, designated the Apple store’s manager, came along as the officialbuyer.

We stayed at the magnificent “La Mamounia Hotel” in Marrakech and scoured the souks for appropriate items. Yosha and I chose some interesting fabrics, jewelry and fancy slippers. Pete conducted the business deals with the Moroccan vendors, aided by Simon & Barry, and handled the shipping but unfortunately, for some reason a lot of the merchandise never made it back to London. Of course the Fool was implicitly blamed, the ideal scapegoat.

For the opening of the Apple boutique by nightfall on December 7, 1967, we proceeded on foot from Montague Square with a parade of dressed up friends and their children playing drums, bells and flutes to Baker Street, not far away, to arrive at the Apple building which was bustling with famous and not so famous people drinking apple juice, music blaring, press cameras clicking away.

Twiggy marked the moment by biting into a big Golden Delicious apple and John was declaring the whole thing to be well done! The press was in an uproar, some people thought it was fantastic while others were appalled by this “Shock of the New“, to quote art critic Robert Hughes.

We intended Apple to also be a cultural center including art shows, lectures, poetry readings, music nights etcetera, rather than just a boutique but that intent somehow fell by the wayside. Some disparaging remarks have been voiced about the cost of the enterprise but John, always the most enthusiastic about the venture, assured us “Hey guys, it’s either going to the taxman or we can do something really incredible”. Apple was still selling posters and T-shirts with our designs into the new century…

The management of Apple was not the responsibility of the Fool. We were only the creative idea people and had our hands full painting and designing. After the city counsel enforced painting the mural over and when a good manager could not be found the Beatles eventually decided to give the inventory away to the public on July 31, 1968. I thought that was an appropriate grand finale of the whole production to the benefit of the public, a kind of new age bonfire of the vanities.

Marijke Koger – From 10. MEET THE BEATLES – (marijkekogerart.com)
From The Beatles History (beatles-chronology.ru) – English model Pauline Stone with members of the Fool design team at the new Apple boutique, on November 29, 1967. From left to right: (back row) Marijke Koger, Pauline Stone, Josie Liger; (front row) Barry Finch and Simon Posthuma. Photo by Mike McKeown.

Last updated on May 5, 2024

Albums, EPs & singles which Marijke Koger contributed to






1967-1970 (US version, 1973)

By The Beatles • Official album

Contribution: Tambourine • 1 songs


1967-1970 (UK version, 1973)

By The Beatles • LP

Contribution: Tambourine • 1 songs



Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Mono - 2009 remaster)

By The Beatles • Official album

Contribution: Tambourine • 1 songs



Exit mobile version