Jopie Huisman

The Netherlands / 1922 - 2000 / wikipedia / /
A Dutch self-taught painter and draftsman.

Huisman kept shoes, weights, rags, dolls, in short anything that appealed to him in one way or another. He painted these in minute detail. Before 1974 he sold his work or swapped it for a carton of eel. Later he sold no paintings, but gave them away to friends and to people who deserved it, he says. Since 1986, his paintings are to be seen in the Jopie Huisman Museum. Since the nineties, partly because of heart problems, the meticulous work became too strenuous and he went on to make colored pencil drawings and watercolors. Huisman painted his last painting in March 2000. This small watercolor was found in 2010 in his birthplace on the Trekweg in Workum.

Huisman was also known for his stories and sometimes exaggerated anecdotes, some of which he wrote down. In 2011 these were collected in the book "Jopie the Storyteller.

Born the youngest of 7 children, he drew what he saw around him and what moved him. He was trained as a house painter and in 1939 painted pottery at Aurora Pottery in Workum. In 1942 he was arrested in a raid and interned in a work camp in Kassel, but escaped in 1943, and thereafter led a somewhat irregular life. He was bed-bound due to TB for half a year. Eventually he started a bicycle trade in rags and metal.

"I began painting, just as I began breathing. Without being aware of it. It's just a drive from within. Just as eating and drinking."

"In 1973 I suddenly had tremendously large personal problems. I was completely thrown back on myself. Then I found among the rubbish a pair of old pants. Old, worn, eighty-times mended, nasty cow-milker's pants. I saw myself in them: totally godforsaken. I brought them and then painted them. Apparently other people recognized what I had painted, and that has been my salvation. Basically the painting is a self-portrait."
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First Collected by

Suzan Hamer


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