Jan Wiegers only started at the age of 13 with the three-year starting course at the Minerva academy in Groningen. Then sculpture and painting lessons follow. After several years of touring and working in Germany, he obtained a Decorative Painting degree from Minerva. Wiegers is a strong supporter of artistic innovation and experiment and therefore founded the Groninger De Ploeg in 1918 with a number of other painters. At that time he experiments with simplification of shapes and displays his subjects in simple, large areas of color. Groningen critics described him as 'the most modern shield of Groningen'. Two years later, in 1920, Wiegers travels to Davos in Switzerland, where he has to cure because of TB. To pay for his trip, his painter friends went around with the hat. The stay in Davos is of decisive importance for Wiegers. He meets the German expressionist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, who came out of the First World War badly damaged. A close friendship develops between the two. Together they undertake daily hikes and sketch trips in the mountain landscape around Davos and Wiegers becomes established in the 'Davoser Kunstszene' that has formed around Kirchner. Far from home, Wiegers is influenced by Kirchner's vehement and colorful expressionism. After returning to Groningen, Wiegers would regularly travel to Switzerland to visit his friend Kirchner until his death in 1936, and to find inspiration in the enchanting mountain nature.
Once recovered and back in Groningen, Wiegers introduces a new, Kirchner-inspired, expressionist style and thereby gives a decisive twist to De Ploeg's painting. Exuberant colors, a bold transformation of nature, reality and new use of paint characterize the new way of working. Altink, Dijkstra, Jordens and Werkman adopt this and a collective style emerges that characterizes the heyday of De Ploeg (1925-1928). In these years, Wieger's oeuvre has a wide variety of subjects. The Swiss landscape plays an important role. He also paints Groningen landscapes, nudes, still lifes, interiors and a large number of portraits. His style changed after 1927. The large, clearly demarcated areas of color give way to a more fluid, moderate expressionistism.
In 1934 Wiegers settled in Amsterdam where he was a popular and much sought-after portrait painter and in 1943 he became a professor at the academy. He remains involved in the Groningen art life, but the Groningen landscape disappears from his work. The typical rhythmic lines that he has used in his work in recent years give way to a more traditional form treatment. This is criticized: it lacks inspiration and loses freshness compared to the revolutionary work he made around 1925.
During the occupation, Wiegers lived in the Gooi for several years, where he painted and was active in the artists' resistance. He is a member of a committee set up to represent the interests of various art groups. Wiegers takes a different path in his work; according to W. Jos de Gruijter 'the' modern 'in his work resumes his rights.'
Wieger's work has been exhibited extensively, both in the Netherlands and abroad. He is considered one of the most important modernists in our country and the most modern of the Ploeg.