Willem van Konijnenburg (Den Haag 1868-1943) Anchorpullers

Educated at young age by his mother and later on by J.C. d’Arnoud Gerkens, Willem van Konijnenburg studied at the The Hague Academy of Arts.

Being a well to do patriciate and famous for his dandyesque presence at party’s, Willem van Konijnenburg’s talent flowered only at later age when he was already a man of middle-age in 1917.

Initially influenced by The Hague impresionists and the School of Barbizon, van Konijnenburg decided to break with these traditions and had an artistic identity crise around 1900.

He was an intellectual idealist with classicistic influences and develloped his characteristic style with geometric patterns. Terms like harmony, ethics and aesthetics were the spearheads of his policy when he created this new style and personal image. He was influenced by the Italian Renaissance like Leonardo da Vinci as well.[1]

Thanks to his mecenas and collector, the dealer in tea and mint, Frits van Kooten Kok, van Konijnenburg became a completely financially independant artist and he established his new image with the exhibition of thirty works from the private-collection of van Kooten Kok in 1917 at Kunstzaal Kleykamp, The Hague. This exhibition gave him the status of artists like Jan Toorop, Johan Thorn Prikker and Richard Roland Holst. Other stimulating and important contacts for van Konijnenburg were the art critic Albert Plasschaert and the poet P.C. Boutens.

Untill then, van Konijnenburg was mostly known as a painter and draughtsman and it took untill 1924 before he got his first monumental order, a stained glass window “Het Wilhelmina-raam” for the Nieuwe Kerk Delft.

In 1921 van Konijnenburg succeeded Albert Roelofs who died at new years eve as teacher of Queen Wilhelmina and became her personal teacher. This resulted in the order for a stained glass window “Het Wilhelmina-raam” (the Wilhelmina window) which he completed in 1927. The window being a personal gift from the philantropist Edward Bok.[2]

Our drawing is a typical design for a stained glass window, due to the bold black stylistic patterns lining the geometric basic forms. Probably this is an early and one of his first experiments with this subject, as the catalogue by Dr. Mieke Rijnders mentions a work titled “Ankertrekkers” (Anchorpullers) dated 1918 in the catalogue.[1]

Besides her Royal Majesty Queen Wilhelmina, Van Konijnenburg was teacher of many well known artists like Johan Briedé, Jan Frank Niemantsverdriet, Rie Cramer, Jeanne Bieruma Oosting and Willem van den Berg.




[1] Dr. Mieke Rijnders, Willem A. van Konijnenburg. Leonardo van de Lage Landen. Waanders, Zwolle, 2008.

[2] Dr. M. Rijnders, 'Tastbaar verleden. Willem, Wilhelmina en de ware koningschap. Het Wilhelmina-raam van Willem van Konijnenburg', Holland 33, 2001, nr. 3, p. 222-238.

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