Jan Zoetelief Tromp

Batavia (Dutch Indies) 1872 – 1947 Breteuil-sur-Iton (F)

Jan Zoetelief Tromp became best known for his sunny beach scenes with playing children and his joyous scenes from peasant life. Although he studied at the academies of The Hague and Amsterdam and he was a member of Pulchri Studio and Arti et Amicitiae, his role in social artists’ circles was relatively modest. Hij did exhibit, also at the Exhibitions of Living Masters, but not exceptionally much. The fact that he was deaf probably played a part in this. Even though Jan was able to go to school and he learned how to read lips, thanks to his grandmother’s support.

Zoetelief Tromp preferred the privacy and intimacy of his own family. His young children and his little dog Billy consistently are the main subject in his paintings and watercolours. He also found much inspiration in peasant lift near Laren and Blaricum. Recurring themes are playing in the garden, children walking along a corn or tulip field (with or without a young dog or a goat), harvesting potatoes and feeding the rabbits or the calves. Later he would also paint beach scenes in Katwijk.

Admittedly Zoetelief Tromp was not one of the most innovative painters of his time, but his work was very popular amongst art buyers. Partly due to the influence of his father in law Bernardus Blommers, from whom Zoetelief Tromp borrowed many subjects, his paintings had some affiliation with the Hague School. Over time however, he developed a smoother stroke and his palette became brighter. This led to Zoetelief Tromp becoming very successful abroad, particularly in England, the United States and Canada. In the past few decades his work was rediscovered in the Netherlands.

Paintings and watercolours by Jan Zoetelief Tromp in the collection of Kunsthandel Bies:

Feeding the rabbits

Children playing on the beach