If you’re from the Netherlands and in particular from Friesland you might have heard of Jopie Huisman, a locally very well-known 20th century painter (Sorry, can’t help pointing out the century. In this case it’s very apt, as Jopie died in 2000). I recently snooped around for work of painter Gerard Boersma and discovered that he’s related to Jopie. Further on I figured out that there are more of Huisman’s relatives who all turn out to be quite good at handling paint and brush.
They all seem to have a very resembling realistic painting style. What’s even more interesting is that they wound up dealing with similar subjects in their paintings. Their work involves daily goings on, people on the street, still lives of ordinary objects, familiar landscapes. Basically they paint what they come across from day to day, in most cases it’s something that others won’t even take notice of.
Now about the painters within the Huisman family: There’s Jopie, there’s daughter Grietje Huisman, her husband Gerrit Wijngaarden and grandnephew Gerard Boersma. The latter doing extremely well for himself, getting a lot of publicity and being asked to exhibit all over the world, selling works seemingly on daily basis.
To get a sense of where this family’s painting tradition originated from, here’s some of Jopie Huisman’s work, dating from the 1930s to the 80s:
[Source: Jopie Huisman Museum]
Daughter Grietje went ahead with still lives and study-like work:
[Source: Gallery 'Roos van Tudor']
Grietje’s husband Gerrit has a different approach to realism, and goes down the magic realism path with eery urban and rural landscapes showing a distinct stillness, though he also paints still lives and portraits:
And then there’s Gerard Boersma, he’s taking the urban landscape as a subject to another level and explores every possible angle; people in shops, elevators, libraries etc. Especially Gerrit and Gerard’s work have a very clear thread running through. A lot of their works revolve around people who appear alone or disconnected in some way. It shows how contradictionary the modern world can be. There are so many people around us, so many ways to connect yet we all live in our own little universe. And half of the time we don’t even realize it.
What appeals about Gerard’s work for me personally is the fact that he depicts both my hometown and two of my favourite cities (Leeuwarden, Amsterdam, New York City). What a luxury! And yeah, there are a few (modern) still lives to be seen in Gerard’s collection.
Purchasing work from Grietje, Gerrit and Gerard:
If you’re interested in purchasing work from the ‘Huismans’, Grietje can be approached through gallery Roos van Tudor, Gerrit through his own website, and same goes for Gerard, as well as the Amstelgallery. Gerard also sells very affordable, smaller pieces on his blog regularly!