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Luminist Hendrik Jan Wolter

Luminist Hendrik Jan Wolter - Lyklema Fine Art
Hendrik Jan Wolter (Amsterdam 1873-1952) is best known for his luminist paintings that reflect the influence of French Impressionists. He traveled a lot throughout his life and this is reflected in his subjects and developed style.

When Hendrik Jan was 12, the family moved to Amersfoort. His German teacher, W.N.Coenen, gave him his first drawing lessons. In 1895 he started at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. His earliest known works are predominantly naturalistic in style with the subject of simple workers, mothers with children, (peasant) interiors and the city of Amersfoort.

Under the influence of the French Impressionists such as Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro, his style changes with a distinctly light color palette into a neo-Impressionist, luminist style. For him everything revolves around the sun (light).

In 1901, Wolter took part in a members' exhibition of Arti et Amicitiae for the first time and in 1904 he received the encouragement prize for young artists: the Willink van Collen Prize. In 1904 he also married Popkolina (Koosje) van Hoorn and they settled in the painting village of Laren (NH). There he painted, en plein air, his characteristic landscapes and cityscapes for the first time in bright, modern colors for that time. There he had contact with fellow citizens Ferdinand Hart Nibbrig, Jan Sluijters and Co Breman, but was not a member of the local artist group. However, he found water a more interesting subject than the sandy soils around Laren.H.J. Wolter, via Historische Kring Laren

Image via Historical Circle Laren

In 1914 Wolter moved to Amsteldijk 47-3 in Amsterdam with a view of the Amstel and the Hoge Sluis. Here he painted his most famous works with Amstel views. During the First World War he often painted city, harbor and village views in Zeeland, but also in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, Enkhuizen, Dordrecht and Rhenen.

After the war, Wolter resumed his travels to England and painted the Thames from various locations, with Waterloo Bridge or Tower Bridge in the background. From the 1920s onwards, Wolter also painted a number of factories and workshops, such as clothing workshops and the Heineken Brewery. During this period he also started painting portraits and nudes.

Photo site RKD

At the end of 1924, Wolter succeeded Nicolaas van der Waay as professor at the Rijksakademie voor Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam. As chairman of the Committee for Dutch Art Exhibitions Abroad, Wolter traveled extensively in Europe between 1926 and 1938, which inspired him to create beautiful paintings of coastal towns. His loose touch was characteristic of this. After this period, Wolter moved with his wife to Rome, where he made a series with horse races in the park at villa Borghese (see our blog about sports in art). During the Second World War he lived again in Laren. Shortly afterwards he visited his son in New York and painted, among other things, cityscapes of Brooklyn and Manhattan.

5.4 Venetië - Hendrik Jan Wolter (1873-1952)

Seven years after his death, in 1959, he had his first foreign exhibition at the Galerie Bernheim-Jeune in Paris, entitled Wolter, le maître Hollandais 1873-1952. In 1992, a retrospective exhibition was held in Museum Flehite, in Amersfoort, under the title “Wolter, painter of light and color”. An exhibition with his travels as the theme followed in 2010, entitled “Traveling with Hendrik Jan Wolter”. Wolter's work is in the collection of several Dutch museums, including the Stedelijk Museum, Boymans van Beuningen Museum, Amsterdam Museum (Confectionery workshop in St. Willibrordusstraat), Amsterdam City Archives (Confectionery workshop in Amsterdamse Pijp), Singer Museum and Museum. Flehite. In 2018, the RKD created a digital monograph of more than 400 works.



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