Jeanne Bieruma Oosting Archive

 Archief Jeanne Bieruma Oosting

The RKD – Netherlands Institute for Art History recently received a previously unknown archive containing letters, photos and a travel diary that belonged to the versatile artist Jeanne Bieruma Oosting (1898-1994).

Painting trip to Veere

In the 1920s Jeanne Bieruma Oosting was friends with Coks (or Corrie) Pijnacker Hordijk (1904-1971). Like Oosting, Hordijk was a driven artist for whom painting was the most important goal in life. In 1924 they went to Veere together in order to draw and paint. The ‘painting trip to Veere’ took place from 24 May to 3 June, during which time Oosting kept a fairly detailed diary of what they did each day. After arriving on their bicycles they set out to explore the town. They immediately did some ‘precise drawings, first the church with its fine grey shadows, bright highlight, next the town hall.- Introduction to Mrs van Dam van Isselt. Followed by tea with Janna de Groot.’ The painter Lucie van Dam van Isselt had moved to the town of Veere in the province of Zeeland in 1907, and Miss Janna de Groot was the person from whom Oosting and Hordijk rented a room. Over the following days they visited other people including the Veere-based painter Willem Vaarzon Morel and his wife. In the rhyming ABC at the back of the diary Jeanne Bieruma Oosting sums up the couple in sneering terms: ‘M. is for Morel, whose paintings get worse by the day, N. for his wife Nell [sic.], a sweetie who has lost her way.’ Besides the travel diary, the archive includes letters and postcards sent by Oosting to Hordijk in the period 1924-1926, as well as some photos.

 Archief Jeanne Bieruma Oosting
Diary describing a painting excursion to Veere made by Jeanne Bieruma Oosting and Coks Pijnacker Hordijk, 24 May-3 June 1924, collection RKD

Summer of Jeanne

Jeanne Bieruma Oosting is currently in the spotlight. During the ‘Summer of Jeanne’ five cultural institutions are paying tribute to the artist’s life and work. The series of exhibitions came about at the suggestion of Jolande Withuis and they are based on her biography Geen tijd verliezen. Jeanne Bieruma Oosting 1898-1994 (No time to lose, Jeanne Bieruma Oosting 1898-1994) published at the end of last year. A large retrospective exhibition has been mounted at Museum Henriette Polak in Zutphen, featuring a selection from her varied oeuvre alongside photos and personal writings which are shown for the first time, including twenty loans from the RKD.

On view at the RKD

The RKD already holds 3.5 metres of archival material from Jeanne Bieruma Oosting. The archive includes letters – many from other artists – personal documents, travel diaries, documentation relating to her work as well as a large number of photos. The recently acquired documents are a valuable addition because Coks Pijnacker Hordijk was not previously represented in the archive. Her small archive passed from the Hordijk family to a private collector who decided to give it to the RKD. From early July – for the duration of the ‘Summer of Jeanne’ – several items from this newly acquired archive will be on the display at the RKD.

 Archief Jeanne Bieruma Oosting
1. Letter from Jeanne Bieruma Oosting to Coks Pijnacker Hordijk, 8 June 1924, collection RKD
2. Two female artists at work in Bruges, photograph from the Jeanne Bieruma Oosting Archive, collection RKD