Jan Ouwersloot (1902-1975) painted the white ocean liner Gelria on Amsterdam’s Ruyterkade, overlooking the IJ. The location can be deduced from the red advertising sign on the right of the Van den Boom Brothers steamboat company. Between the two World Wars, this was a centre of activity where many l...arge ships made stopovers en route to South America or other distant destinations. The Gelria could hold up to 1500 passengers. Besides emigrants, the ship hosted several celebrities including author Agatha Christie and writer/poet J.J. Slauerhoff (1898-1936).
Ouwersloot was self-taught and painted mainly in his spare time: ‘I am a Sunday painter, but certainly not an amateur.’ In 1927 and 1928, he worked as a professional artist but could not make ends meet financially. His subjects were mainly taken from his own surroundings, such as landscapes, harbours, townscapes and sometimes his own pet cat. He belonged to the group called De Populisten (The Populists) (1935-1939), which also included Louis Schrikkel (1902-1995). They painted everyday scenes in a naïve realistic style.
Ouwersloot had hoped for a retrospective; however, he painted slowly and his work sold regularly. Only in 1970, after retiring, did he manage to produce enough work for an exhibition in Zwanenburg.
Text: Evelien Verheij, collection coordinator
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View of a Dutch Harbour
Oil on canvas
50 x 61 cm (h x w)
Type of object
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