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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Grandpa (Opa) was an Artist too

This is an extra post focusing a little on my historical roots. Many of you, particularly those outside the USA, have expressed an interest in my background. So I will share a little now and more as time goes on. Please, all of you, let me know how you enjoy these insights in to the creation of an artist.

My Opa (grandfather) Lendert van Vliet, or in short Leen (pron. lain) was an artist too. Back in March 1970 he painted this shorebird (known as a "kluut" in dutch) while living in Ermelo, NL. Opa gave it too me as a present when he came to visit in 1972. It is very much in the "colorist" tradition, very little tonalism. He created it with oil on a board measuring 9-1/4"W x 5-1/2"h. He painted a dog (basset hound I think) for my brother and also a painting of his new home for my sister.

Opa was a bit of a daredevil. My father told me he once used motorcycle to jump through a hoop of fire. He ran a furniture and millwork buisness and was in charge of the local fire department in Kootwijkerbroek, NL. Later my uncle had the same position at the fire department and also was a partner with another uncle in the millwork business. My uncle Lien showed me the fire station where a 12 year old painter was commission to paint a mural of the great fire in those parts.

It brings back fond memories to view this shorebird painting and also a reason to paint, continuity of a tradition. Family history is always interesting to me. My parents, brother an dsister the only members living in the United States. My parents combined had a total of 23 siblings in their family from the Netherlands. Now with my cousins, they live worldwide. It is interesting to understand the different cultures and the continuing histories of each one.

Here is a photo taken while my father was living in Aarlanderveen, NL around 1938. This is where the family lived for many years. They ran a buisness there making all the fine cabinets, windows and doors for new homes. Their shop was right on the canal. I believe this town is now part of a historic district.

Tony (left) was my Dad's older brother and was picked up by the Nazi's in WWII, never to be heard from again. My Opa and Dad (2nd left) both hid regularly during the war as did many men of their age group. Notice that my Dad and his brothers are all smoking except for the youngest. It amazes me in our culture today, to imagine an important family picture being taken, where the children are smoking at ages of approximately 10 years old.

"Aarlanderveen is a small village where all people know eachother and are very active in local associations. The Oranjevereniging (orange union) is one of the examples.

Originally a group of people who organised a nice day for the whole family at Queensday (30 april), is now also organising a party week in summer. And year after year it is a great succes. The mainstreet is decorated with little flags to make the partymood even better." tompt


At 8:27 AM, Blogger Todd said...

that's a great story Gordon, glad you have some history to live up to.
Now I want a cigerette

At 11:46 PM, Blogger MR.C said...

wow you are the !artist! congratulations, inspirado en los maestros, muy bien

At 9:39 AM, Blogger Paridhi said...

u r artwork is also very good.thankx for saying sweet words on my blog.

At 11:23 AM, Blogger Gabriel said...

hm, so you're not related to Don van Vliet...

At 3:06 PM, Blogger Lori said...

Very interesting history, I love your Opa's painting. Thanks much for the nice comments on my painting. Lori

At 10:57 AM, Blogger "van Vliet" Art Blog said...

Thank you everyone for your thoughtful and encouraging comments.

At 8:48 AM, Blogger Susan Foss said...

I love the photo! So satisfying to have a story to go along with it. Old photographs are so poignant. Your paintings have such a lovely, moody atmosphere. Thank you for sharing some of your history. Thank you also for your poetic comment regarding my "Green Apple" painting!

At 5:57 PM, Anonymous chara dow said...

wow, I don't think i ever actually knew who did the painting of the shorebird. hmmm, i'll have to ask mom about the painting he gave her. thanks

At 2:46 AM, Blogger RenĂ© said...

Funny to see where all those dutch people went. Very nice blog Gordon,
if you don't mind i will add you to my link list. Keep up painting!!

At 9:32 AM, Blogger "van Vliet" Art Blog said...

Thank you for you kind words and the link Rene. I will also link you in a day or two as I determine how to place your work. Very nice and also to see the land of my fathers.

At 11:18 AM, Anonymous Robert Tracy said...

Is the Netherlands the same as Holland, only a new name? I'm sorry, I'm ignorant of the geography here.

Anyway it's nice that you show your ancestors. And very sweet that these kids are smoking.

At 9:35 AM, Blogger "van Vliet" Art Blog said...

Yes the Netherlands is the official name and Holland a popular name.
And I have added Rene under painters of note. Very nice Plein Air work from Holland.


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