JONGKIND and his artistic neighboors
Photo Hoogstraat Vlaardingen uit 1886
Collection city archive Vlaardingen
This is the earliest photo available and as close to what we know the 'High Street' must have looked like when Jongkind lived here. Actually, the photo was taken 50 years before he lived here and some houses had already been demolished and new ones emerged at the same location, as you can see around you, happened many times in the course of time.
Due to the regularly held population counts and well kept church administration, is that Jongkind, living right here in this very street, at the age of 14, had two artistic neighbours. Another boy of his age, called Arij Pleijsier and the much older Pieter Kikkert.
Below we will introduce both gentlemen:
Foto Arij PLeijsier in 1870
Pastel drawing from Pieter Kikkert by J.A.M. Haak
(Collection City Archive Vlaardingen)
Arij Pleijsier was born on 16 April 1819 into a well-to-do family in Vlaardingen, only two months later Jongkind is born in Lattrop, in the east of Holland. Jongkind will find himself in Vlaardingen within two years from then and will live next to Arij for a few years here in the Hoogstraat.
Despite the fact that Arij's parents had no affinity with art, he was allowed to start his apprenticeship as a painter of houses in 1833, at the age of fourteen. In those days, being an artist was not a highly valued profession, but being a house painter was a respectable trade which his parents approved of. This all plays right at the time that Johan Barthold Jongkind and Arij Pleijsier live in this very street as neighboors.
From house painter to artist
In 1835 Arij Pleijser was apprenticed as a decorative painter to Abraham van Eldik, a carriage painter from Rijswijk, a city near The Hague. After work hours, Arij practised the art of painting, copying paintings from Rubens and Van Dijck.
A year later he exchanged Rijswijk for Rotterdam, where he went into the service of Gerrit Malleyn, a coach painter who also specialised in decorating interiors.
In 1841 Arij devoted himself entirely to painting art. He practised painting portraits. The technically beautiful self-portrait in pastel, as shown on the markertile below you, dates from this period.
At this point Jongkind lives in Maassluis and also produces his first oil paintings...but you will find more about that when you take the Art route in Maassluis.
Specialising in Maritime Art
One of Arij Pleijsiers first assignments in 1841 was the production of the title vignette in the 'Namelist of herring vessels', which was published annually in Vlaardingen.
In 1842, Arij Pleijsier made a ten-week voyage aboard his father's barge, the VL12 'Prins Willem Frederik Hendrik', of which his brother was mate/captain. He made many sketches while on board. These sketches where the basis of paintings which sold well.
From that moment on, Arij Pleijsier devoted himself entirely to maritime art.
The self-confidence of autodidact Pleijsier grew to such an extent that he dared to offer his paintings to the Royal Family. With success, and many other royal families followed.
Pleijsier lived most of his life in Rotterdam and became a member of artists' circle Pulchri in The Hague. Later, when he moved to Amsterdam in 1852, he also became a member of Amsterdam artists' circle Arti et Amicitiae, where he found himself among renowned artists, amongst which Jongkind...
Pieter Kikkert (Leiden, 16 September 1775-1855) was 58 years old when Johan Barthold Jongkind, who was almost 15 years old, came to live next door. Kikkert had a family of twelve children, which he combined with a busy job as tax collector for the municipality of Vlaardingen. He was also active in the cultural life of Vlaardingen.
In his later life, Kikkert was very much engaged in literature, theology and politics. He was also a gifted artist.
Perhaps these artistic neighbours inspired Jongkind. It is even possible that both Arij Pleijsier and Jongkind had drawing lessons from Kikkert. Perhaps at the parish school of the Reformed Church, or simply at his kitchen table.
Nowadays, Pieter Kikkert's etchings can be found in the Rijksmuseum and Museum Boijmans.
Portrait in pastel
The portrait above was painted by painter Johannes Andries Marinus Haak, the husband of Pieter's granddaughter Johanna Petronella Kikkert, in 1891, i.e. long after the death of Pieter Kikkert in 1855.