Truus Braster ( 1921 - 2018)
Frisian landscape impressions
Handwoven woolen landscape impressions by Frisian handweaver Truus (Geertruida) Braster who, through her husband Jaap van der Mey had a surprising link to island Ameland as well as to the “Blaue Reiter” artists. He had been for many years a teacher at the Vreedeman de Vries Art Academy in Leeuwarden.
Braster, Truus (Geertruida) (Nijmegen 22-06-1921 – 07-05-2018 Grou)
Self-taught hand weaver. Represented in my collection with 5 pieces of handwoven woolen “Landscape Impressions”, all dated handwritten on the back around 1990.
Besides her obituary (she died 2018 aged 97 in near my home-town village Grou) there’s a local newspaper interview from years back in which she explains what her art was about as self taught hand weaver. It is most likely my 5 works are from her personal estate because they were acquired not long after her passing away.
She was married to Jaap (Jacob) van der Meij (Amsterdam 01-09-1923 – 01-06-1999 Tortellà, Olot, Spain), sculptor, painter and monumental artist. He is buried in Hollum-Ameland. He studied at the academy in Amsterdam under Heinrich Campendonk (1889-1957), once member of “der Blaue Reiter” with Kandinsky and Franz Marc, fled the Nazi regime and taught monumental art in Amsterdam since 1935.
Campendonck had also been the teacher of Max Reneman (1923-1978), an artist and a dentist who died in a plain crash near Sicily in 1978, the year I graduated and started my professional career as a dentist on the island of Ameland. Reneman was, when he died tragically, one of the international icons of prosthodontics, the practise and theory of dynamics of artificial teeth in Amsterdam. Along his professional line of research also worked prof. Guus Flögel (b. 1925) who was my prosthodontics professor in Utrecht. They revolutionised the world of prosthodontics getting much attention (and probably funds for much needed research) with humour and art.
In their wake prof. Warner Kalk (b. 1945) followed becoming one of the worlds influential, leading and awarded prosthodontists. He acted as the head of the Dentistry department and professor of Oral Function in Groningen University when I came to work there, training students and was also involved in prosthodontics.
For Frisians, van der Meij’s most capturing work is probably the monumental (huge) concrete statue of 3 impressive giants near Dokkum. On a clear day they could easily view his ancestral Ameland on the horizon. Jaap van der Meij’s roots lay on the island of Ameland. His ancestors have lived and loved for generations on the island: seafarers, fishermen, wheel makers and peasants.
The obituary of Truus Braster mentions few people. Having no children most people met in her lifetime will have “gone before”. But her friend Jentsje Popma (Zwolle 1921 - ) a contemporary Frisian painter born in the same year as Truus Braster was.
Popma had studied in the Academies of Rotterdam and Amsterdam earning the Cohen Gosschalk price in 1946 as (most) promising student, and then studied painting at Groningen Academie Minerva. He followed a career as glazer en sculptor before he took up a career in painting in the late 1980’s (after the age of retirement: artists never retire) becoming probably Friesland’s most celebrated contemporary landscape painter.
Dear print lover, passing-by visitor and reader:
While this new gallery-museum site is under construction (being build-up, stocked and arranged) priority must be given to first add all the represented artists in the index with works from the collection and if possible with the examples from the archives.
During construction the site is open to visitors, questions, feedback and suggestions.
Read more about the artists, their lives, families and careers in the new and extensive Artist Lexicon: “DAS HAUS DER FRAU, the short biographies” accompanying this exhibition.
Hundreds of new artist biographies, a private publication in 2 Volumes written conveniently in English.
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