Co Westerik trained at the academy in The Hague where his talent was quickly noticed. In 1951 he received the Jacob-Maris Prize for his painting The Fisherwoman. The award for this realistic work was greeted with much criticism, since abstraction then held sway in the art world. Despite the mainstream being non-figurative, a year later he received another prestigious prize – the Royal Grant for Painting. People at all their stages of life are the central theme of Westerik’s work. He is a sharp observer whose figures are rendered large against an often simple background. By ‘blowing-up’ his subject matter the artist hopes to get closer to the essence of what concerns him. As a result, this often leads to a somewhat charged and alienated atmosphere: realism with a hint of Surrealism.