Carel Willink (1900-1983) painted this portrait in 1930, the year that he met Wilma Jeuken (1905-1960), and two years before they married. Wilma became Willink’s second wife. In the thirty years that the couple were together, until her death in 1960, Willink painting Wilma’s portrait on eleven occas
...ions. He often depicted her in fashionable clothes.
Willink on this attractive portrait of Wilma holding a cigarette: ‘The background is not mine. Someone else has painted this over my work: some or other cheeky sod seems to have thought that it looks better like this, I can’t understand the scum that messed with the painting’. We do not know who may have changed the background.
Owing to his great skill, Willink was a sought-after portraitist. Many well-known faces from the world of art and culture visited him, including poet Adriaan Roland Holst (1888-1976), author Gerard Reve (1923-2006) and cabaret artist Wim Sonneveld (1917-1974). Willink and the erudite Wilma were striking presences in these circles. He was stately and always wore a suit, she usually wore trousers, which was rather unusual for women until the 1950s.