Hendrik Jan Wolter – Polperro Harbour, Cornwall

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Hendrik Jan Wolter (1873 – 1952)
Polperro Harbour, Cornwall
oil on canvas
29 x 46 inches

Signed (lower right)

Private collection, United Kingdom


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Hendrik Jan Wolter (1873- 1952) was a Dutch painter. His father, Hendrik Jan, was a civil engineer and his mother, Johanna Louiza Lorié, came from a French Norman family.

In 1885 the family moved to Amersfoort where he went to the Hogereburgerschool. After this he started a career as an officer, in Haarlem at the Military School. His musical and artistic mother was, however, not so enthusiastic. With her help, he was able to give up infantry training and embark on drawing.

In 1895 he was admitted to the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Antwerp. A year later he had already moved to the Institut Supérieur. He stayed there for 3 years and was rewarded with the Willink van Collen award.

During his stay in Antwerp he came to know the pointillist work of Georges Seurat, Paul Signac and Théo van Rysselberghe. These artists greatly influenced Jan Wolter and his canvas became more luminous and vibrant in colour.

In 1904 he married Popkolina Van Hoorn and went to live in the Gooise Laren. Although a few other pointillists such as Ferdinand Hart Nibbrig and Co Breman stayed there, Wolter never belonged to the Laren School. Gooise village life was never his source of inspiration. He felt more attracted by water, sea and travel. Indeed he painted many harbour scenes such as Polperro Harbour, Cornwall.

Shortly before the First World War, he moved into a studio on the Amstel, the river from Amsterdam takes its name, with a view of the Hoge Sluis bridge. It is there that he gradually renounced his divisionist style. Although a bright colour palette still populated his light-filled works, his application of paint became patchier. He died in Amersfoort in 1952.


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