Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Toorop, Jan

The Sea at Katwijk
Oil on canvas
86 x 96 cm
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Jean Theodoor Toorop (1858 - 1928), better known as Jan Toorop, was an Indo (Javanese Dutch) painter, whose works straddle the space between the Symbolist painters and Art Nouveau. He was born in Purworejo, Java, Dutch East Indies. He was a descendant of an Asian lady and a so-called orang Belanda Hitam - i.e. one of the black soldiers recruited from the Gold Coast - what is now called Ghana. Those soldiers served in the Dutch colonial army. In 1872, he moved with his family to the Netherlands, where he studied in Delft and Amsterdam.

Jan Toorop painted the sea at Katwijk on the Dutch coast in an original way. You can only see the water with the waves rolling in, the foaming surf and a small piece of sky. No boat or bird distracts our attention from the main subject: the sea itself, rendered in wonderful nuances of color, from mauve and light green to yellow and blue-grey. Toorop painted an almost abstract image which leads the spectator's eye across the restless waves to the peaceful horizon.