Johan Ponsioen Johan Ponsioen
Johan Ponsioen

Personal History

In response to his father' s wishes, the Dutch painter, Johan B. Ponsioen (1900 - 1969), chose teaching as his profession for a basic income. He graduated as a professor in teaching. Nevertheless his main interest was always and clearly solely painting. As a painter and graphical artist he produced a large oeuvre of about 650 items. Ponsioen had a very supporting wife and five children.

Artistic History

Ponsioen' s work as a painter can be divided into three phases:
Johan Ponsioen
First phase: the learning period
In this period, which lasted from his youth till about 1934, Ponsioen painted in a an academic /romantic, style, slowly turning to Dutch impressionism. Painters like Floris Verster, Jan Sluyters, Anselm Feuerbach were important to him at this time.




Johan Ponsioen
Second phase: 1934-1947

This is the phase of ' Magic Realism' (1934-1947), a rather uniquely Dutch style of painting. This realistic style with ' magical' and mysterious elements dominated Dutch Art in the 1930' s and has regained its appraisal in the Netherlands in the last decades.

The magic realistic phase was Ponsioen' s most important period. In this period he painted about one hundred ' chefs d' oeuvre' which continue to receive the same great acclaim they received when first painted. Like-minded painters were Ket, Mekkink, Fernhout, Doeve, Mink, van ' t Net, van Tongeren, Koch, Schuhmacher, Hynckes, Willink and Seelen. In addition to the influence of his contemporaries, Ponsioen, in this period, also turned for inspiration to 16th and 17th century painters like Memling, van Eyck, Geertgen tot Sint Jans, Holbein, Metsu, van der Weijden: painters he adored. Recently an expert in Magic Realism, asked rhetorically if Ponsioen had to be considered as an epigone of Ket or visa versa.
Johan Ponsioen
Third phase: 1947-1969

This is Ponsioen' s eclectic period, in which we see the influences of his previous phases. Love for perfectly depicted details of objects and persons which characterised the foregoing period, makes room for an ' alla prima' style of painting. Colours become brighter and more intense.

Ponsioen was a hard-working and devoted painter who preferred starting his time of painting at sunrise, when daylight was very pure. His oeuvre consists of more than six hundred works, mainly portraits and still lives. Ponsioen was a member of the highly respected painters societies like Arti et Amicitiae, Maatschappy Rembrandt and Sint Lucas, among others. During his thirty active years as an artist he participated in about thirty expositions in Holland as well as in other European countries and had solo-exhibitions in the Netherlands during the fifties. In the critiques of that time he is very often very favourably reviewed.

Being a professor meant that Ponsioen had the daily disadvantage of being interrupted in his creative process, but it also had two enormous advantages.
First, it guaranteed an income and therefore artistic freedom, since he was not obligated to paint in order to sell. In spite of this much of his work was sold: in Holland of course, in France, in the Scandinavian countries and above all in the United States to private collectors, museums and galleries. The second advantage was that, as a teacher, he had long-lasting holidays in which he could do the two things he liked most: painting of course, and travelling.

After his Death
After his death Ponsioen' s work fell into obscurity as the focus of the art world shifted from "(Magic) Realism" to abstract art. This obscurity ended however with the recent re-orientation towards realistic art and, more specifically, the comeback of "Magic Realism." A prestigious exposition devoted to the ' Magic Realism' and related movements was organised in the Museum of Modern Art in Arnhem, Holland in 1999. Leading artistic authorities under the direction of Prof. C. Blotkamp selected Ponsioen as one of the fifty most important painters for this exposition. A year later the city of Tiel, the town in which Ponsioen lived most of his life, organised an impressive survey-exposition devoted to his work. In 2003 the Frisia Museum in Spanbroek, Holland, the ' Mecca' for the Dutch Magic Realism, had an exposition entitled ' Three Painters around Dick Ket' . Ponsioen was one of the three artists of this honourable exposition.
The value of Ponsioen' s paintings, sold by the major international auctioneers, galleries and private persons nearly doubled last years, as a result of the rapidly re-increasing interest in his work.

The Johan B. Ponsioen Foundation

Bibliografie Johan Ponsioen:
Ansink, E. e.a., Schilders van een andere Werkelijkheid in de collectie van het Scheringa Museum voor Realisme, Zwolle, 2006.
Blotkamp, C. e.a., Magie en Zakelijkheid, Realistische schilderkunst in Nederland 1925-1945, Zwolle/Arnhem, 1999.
Brand, J./Broos, K., Magisch realisten en Tijdgenoten in de Verzameling van het Gemeentemuseum Arnhem, Zwolle/Arnhem, 1992.
Broos, K. Dick Ket, Nijmegen, 1990.
Groot, C. de, Overzichtstentoonstelling Johan Ponsioen, Nijmegen, 1953.
Heusden gezegd van der Sluijse, B. Heilig kruis Kerk Amersfoort, Amersfoort, 2008.
Jacobs, P.M.J., Beeldend Nederland, Biografische Handboek, Tilburg, 1993.
Scheen, Nederlandse Beeldende Kunstenaars 1750-1950 Dl M-Z, pag. 186-187, ís Gravenhage, 1970.
Schipper, P.W., Johan Ponsioen 1900-1969 in Tielse Kunstenaars van weleer, pag 22-24, Tiel, 1981.
U Scheringa museum, Nieuw Realisme, 159 Kunstwerken uit het voormalige Scheringa-museum, Uitgeverij díjonge Hond, Zwolle, 2010r
De Stichting heeft een monografie laten verschijnen over het werk van Johan Ponsioen. The purpose of this foundation (in Dutch: Johan B.Ponsioen Stichting)is to locate, purchase, promote, and to retrieve Ponsioen' s work. Unfortunately, the whereabouts of about some dozens of his finest paintings is yet unknown. Only old black-and-white photographs of these works are available. Anyone who knows the whereabouts of paintings of Johan Ponsioen, is invited to contact the administrator Ignatius Ponsioen

Telephone 0031-30-2717713