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Toorop, Jan (1858-1928) - 1927 Self Portrait (Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam) | by RasMarley
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Toorop, Jan (1858-1928) - 1927 Self Portrait (Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam)

Jan Toorop, was a Javanese Dutch painter whose works straddle the space between the Symbolist painters and Art Nouveau. He was born in Purworejo, Java, Dutch East Indies. In 1872, he moved to the Netherlands, where he studied in Delft and Amsterdam. In 1880 he became a student at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. From 1882 to 1886 he lived in Brussels, where he joined Les XX (Les Vingts), a group of artists centered around James Ensor. Toorop worked in various different styles during these years, such as Realism, Impressionism Neo-Impressionism and Post-Impressionism.


Toorop alternated his time between The Hague, England and Brussels, and the Dutch seaside town of Katwijk aan Zee. During this period he developed his own unique Symbolist style, with dynamic, unpredictable lines based on Javanese motifs, highly stylized willowy figures, and curvilinear designs. Thereafter he turned to Art Nouveau styles, in which a similar play of lines is used for decorative purposes, without any apparent symbolic meaning. In 1905 he converted to Catholicism and began producing religious works. He also created book illustrations, posters, and stained glass designs. His daughter Charley Toorop (1891–1955) was also a painter.

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Taken on January 13, 2010