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Jan van der Zeeartist • painter • watercolourist • draughtsman • printmakerLeeuwarden 1898-1988 Groningen

biography of Jan van der Zee

Jan van der Zee is one of the most talented painters of the Groninger Ploeg. Born in Leeuwarden, where he followed the HBS, he met through his drawing teacher Jan Mankes with whom he took some drawing lessons. After getting acquainted with the work of Bart van der Leck in 1919, Van der Zee opted for free artistry. He enrolled at the Minerva Academy in Groningen for the Surface Decoration department. Through the team member Johann Faber he met artists such as Wobbe Alkema and Hendrik de Vries. Partly under the influence of Alkema's work, Van der Zee would make his first constructivist works in 1924.

Van der Zee joined De Ploeg in 1923, followed by Alkema in 1924. Both, like Hendrik Werkman, worked in a geometric-abstract style. The three of them more or less formed the counterpart of expressionism that set the tone within De Ploeg around that time. In the compositions that van der Zee made in the 1920s, there was often clear attention to the structure of the landscape in a rhythm of successive shapes and surfaces. Mainly due to the negative criticism of this work, he returned in 1926 to figurative expressionism, work that was well received: (friends) portraits and landscapes in a sober and dark color, with a clear brushstroke applied in thick paint. From 1928 onwards, Van der Zee increasingly began to paint what would remain the most important theme for a long time: the landscape. Set up in loose keys and swipes in a light color palette. They mainly originate in the region between the Reitdiep and the Boterdiep and at the Paterswoldsemeer.

After the war, van der Zee again looked for a new way. In 1950 he founded Het Narrenschip with a number of friends, including Jan Jordens and Ekke Kleima, which in its short existence paved the way for a new art climate in Groningen. Jan van der Zee was always open to new developments, he experimented with different techniques and also applied them. In addition to brightly colored, figurative expressionist landscapes, in which areas of color were separated by black contours, he also made woodcuts, which were praised. The team biographer Jos de Gruyter called him 'an expressionist realist'. Slowly van der Zee's work shifted again in the direction of an abstract expressionism in graceful lines and shapes, whereby, as in his earlier work, visual perception remained the starting point. At the end of the 1970s this brushwork disappeared from his work. The constructivist element dominated again and the color areas were placed directly next to each other.

Job Hansen and Jan Jordens eventually found a connection with modern art in the rest of the Netherlands, Van der Zee remained loyal to Groningen and the Groningen landscape remained the pivot in his work. In addition, he also found inspiration in the landscape and the cities in the Flemish Leie river basin, which made a great impression on him through what had happened during the war and which he visited regularly.

Van der Zee was skilled with paint, cutting wood, all kinds of graphic techniques and monumental art forms and received various prizes for his work, the 1965 Cultural Prize of the province of Groningen. In 1986 the Fries Museum and the Groninger Museum held a major retrospective of his work. Until the end of his life, Van der Zee was open to innovation and experiment. This is one of the reasons why he is considered one of the most important post-war artists in Groningen. According to Henk van Os, he was one of the former Team Members who 'has kept the openness to evolve throughout his life.'


previously for salepaintings, watercolours, drawings and prints & multiples by Zee J. van der


Jan van der Zee | Spring landscape, Groningen, oil on canvas, 60.0 x 70.2 cm, signed l.r. and dated '44

Jan van der Zee

painting • previously for sale

Spring landscape, Groningen

Jan van der Zee | Harbour, Groningen, oil on canvas, 70.0 x 90.3 cm, signed l.r. and dated '47

Jan van der Zee

painting • previously for sale

Harbour, Groningen

Jan van der Zee | Landscape with a village in the snow; on the reverse: De drafbaan, Groningen, oil on canvas, 60.5 x 80.8 cm, signed l.r. and dated '40

Jan van der Zee

painting • previously for sale

Landscape with a village in the snow; on the reverse: De drafbaan, Groningen

Jan van der Zee | A village street, Ezinge, Groningen, oil on canvas, 60.3 x 80.1 cm, signed l.r. and dated '35

Jan van der Zee

painting • previously for sale

A village street, Ezinge, Groningen

Jan van der Zee | A sunny day on the Paterswolde lake, Groningen, oil on canvas, 60.0 x 80.1 cm, signed l.r. and on the reverse and dated '41 l.r. and on the reverse

Jan van der Zee

painting • previously for sale

A sunny day on the Paterswolde lake, Groningen

Jan van der Zee | A village street; on the reverse: Landscape with Zuidwolde in the distance, oil on canvas, 69.8 x 60.3 cm, signed l.r. and painted '37

Jan van der Zee

painting • previously for sale

A village street; on the reverse: Landscape with Zuidwolde in the distance

Jan van der Zee | The Reitdiep, Groningen; on the reverse: The Paterswolde Lake, oil on canvas, 50.2 x 50.4 cm, signed l.r. and painted '43

Jan van der Zee

painting • previously for sale

The Reitdiep, Groningen; on the reverse: The Paterswolde Lake

Jan van der Zee | A snow-covered town, oil on canvas, 56.0 x 54.1 cm, signed l.r. and dated '33

Jan van der Zee

painting • previously for sale

A snow-covered town

Jan van der Zee | Tree in bloom, gouache on paper, 52.0 x 71.3 cm

Jan van der Zee

watercolour • drawing • previously for sale

Tree in bloom

Jan van der Zee | A harbour in winter, black chalk and watercolour on paper, 32.5 x 51.4 cm, signed l.r. and dated '45

Jan van der Zee

watercolour • drawing • previously for sale

A harbour in winter

Jan van der Zee | A yard with trees; verso: Composition, watercolour and gouache on paper, 56.0 x 56.0 cm, signed l.r. recto and verso and painted in the 1950's, verso ca. 1965-1968

Jan van der Zee

watercolour • drawing • previously for sale

A yard with trees; verso: Composition

Jan van der Zee | Farmers at work, chalk, watercolour and gouache on paper, 31.5 x 50.0 cm, signed l.r. and dated '46

Jan van der Zee

watercolour • drawing • previously for sale

Farmers at work

Jan van der Zee | Composition - Orchard, monotype; stencil and ink on paper, 64.8 x 47.9 cm, signed l.r. and dated '54

Jan van der Zee

watercolour • drawing • previously for sale

Composition - Orchard

Jan van der Zee | Landscape with farms, gouache on paper, 41.5 x 58.5 cm, signed l.r. and dated '46

Jan van der Zee

watercolour • drawing • previously for sale

Landscape with farms

Jan van der Zee | Landscape with farms, gouache on paper, 41.5 x 58.5 cm, signed l.r. and dated '46

Jan van der Zee

watercolour • drawing • previously for sale

Landscape with farms

Jan van der Zee | Farmhouses, gouache on paper, 52.0 x 73.0 cm, signed l.r.

Jan van der Zee

watercolour • drawing • previously for sale

Farmhouses

Jan van der Zee | Haycocks in a landscape, gouache on paper, 56.7 x 75.5 cm, signed l.r. and dated '52

Jan van der Zee

watercolour • drawing • previously for sale

Haycocks in a landscape

Jan van der Zee | Landscape, Groningen (recto); landscape (verso), watercolour and gouache on paper, 55.5 x 75.0 cm, signed l.r. and executed in the fifties

Jan van der Zee

watercolour • drawing • previously for sale

Landscape, Groningen (recto); landscape (verso)

Jan van der Zee | The Paterwolde lake, gouache on paper, 51.0 x 65.0 cm, signed u.r. and dated '48

Jan van der Zee

watercolour • drawing • previously for sale

The Paterwolde lake

Jan van der Zee | Landscape near Groningen, gouache on paper, 54.0 x 30.0 cm, signed l.r. and dated '53

Jan van der Zee

watercolour • drawing • previously for sale

Landscape near Groningen

Jan van der Zee | A polder landscape, 44.6 x 54.8 cm, signed l.r. and dated April '31

Jan van der Zee

painting • previously for sale

A polder landscape


for salepaintings, watercolours, drawings and prints & multiples by Zee J. van der


Jan van der Zee | The Sterrebos, Groningen, oil on canvas, 60.0 x 80.0 cm, signed l.r. and dated '57

Jan van der Zee

painting • for sale

The Sterrebos, Groningen, 1957

Jan van der Zee | Mooring on the Paterswoldsemeer, oil on canvas, 59.5 x 80.3 cm, signed l.r. and dated '47

Jan van der Zee

painting • for sale

Mooring on the Paterswoldsemeer, 1947

Jan van der Zee | Harvest machines, lithograph on paper, 37.0 x 47.3 cm, signed l.r. (in pencil) and dated (in pencil) '53

Jan van der Zee

prints & multiples • for sale

Harvest machines, 1953


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