The Bottema family of artists, a unique collection of the Katwijk MuseumAfgelopen (23 February 2016 till 25 June 2016)
The ‘Association Old Katwijk‘, which is celebrating its jubilee in 2016, is associated closely with the Bottema family of artists.
To begin this festive year, the Exhibitions committee of the Katwijk Museum decided therefore to mount a broad retrospective exhibition of the work of this artistic family- consisting of Tjeerd Bottema who with his wife Cornelia van Amstel and their two daughters Johanna and Hillegonda lived in Katwijk. In addition, an important part of the collection comprises works of his artist brother Tjerk, who lived near Paris.
How did the Association Old Katwijk acquire this voluminous collection ?
After the death of the artist/illustrator Tjeerd Bottema in 1978, the Association received a few hundred paintings, drawings, etches and illustrations from all the living members of the family. In 1980 a legacy in the form of a large sum of money followed, which enabled the Association to rebuild and extend the seat of the museum- Voorstraat 46, the former residence of the ship owner F.E.Meerburg. In gratitude, a room on the first floor of the museum has been permanently dedicated to Bottema.
Tjeerd Bottema (1884 - 1978) is well known by the general public through his RVS logo and received the Prix de Rome in 1907 for his painting ‘Rebecca by the well’. RVS was a Dutch insurance company from 1838 to 2011: the logo - an old ‘Victorian’ couple walking under an umbrella. After his studies at the State Academy of Arts (Rijksacademie) he travelled to Morocco, but soon returned to live along the Boulevard of Katwijk. His house looked out on the Villa Allegonda – at present the source of discussions on restoring it in the old style. He also made many illustrations for children’s books for a variety of publishers - among which ‘There was once an old woman’ [Er was eens een oud vrouwtje ], and also colored etchings.
Film: a distant grand-niece of the artist made a documentary on him as part of her research on his life as an artist. The film can be seen during the exhibition.
Cornelia van Amstel (1887 - 1968), the wife of Tjeerd, was also an accomplished draughtswoman of whom pastel-drawings showing various craftsmen and self-portraits are exhibited.
The daughters, Hillegonda ‘Hil’Bottema (1913 - 1968) and Johanna Bottema (1918 - 1974) were also artists and illustrators. Hil was a draughtswoman, illustrator and also collage-artist. She worked as a documentarist of folk-lore at the Dutch Open-air Museum in Arnhem and designed the posters for various exhibitions. Johanna made many aquarelles of animals in the Artis Zoo in Amsterdam and illustrations for school- and children books.
Tjerk Bottema (1882 – 1940), brother of Tjeerd, choose an adventurous life as a free artist and left for Paris after art-school. He built a house/atelier with his own hands in the village of Cachan, to the south of the city, looking out over it and the Eiffeltower in the distance. His colourful kubistic paintings in oil and his black watercolor drawings are powerful, and show portraits, nudes, still-life’s and French landscapes. His artwork was famous as were the illustrations that he made for daily newspapers and the Dutch political-satirical magazine ‘The Nutcracker’ (De Notenkraker). This was the reason that he had to flee to England from Bordeaux at the beginning of the 2nd World War but, like most of the passengers and his wife, died when their ship, the ‘ Berenice’ was torpedoed in the night of the 21st June 1940 .