Jan Asselbergs was born in the Dutch Indies in 1937, where he experienced the Japanese prison camps and the Indonesian war of independence. When he was twelve years old he returned to the Netherlands with his father. His creativity helped Asselbergs to get through this difficult period in his life. Jan Asselbergs started drawing at a young age. After he obtained his gynasium school diploma he chose, against the will of his father, to go to the art academy in Antwerp. In 1961 Asselbergs moved to Tilburg, where he was an art teacher at the Pauluslyceum and at Kunstkring Tilburg. Next to that he was a jazz pianist, singer and composer. Asselbergs passed away in 2015.
Jan Asselbergs made paintings, watercolours, drawings and sculptures in different styles with the human figure as his most important theme. His chalk drawings of faces and torsos are especially smooth and expressive. In 1980 he started to focus exclusively on painting portraits. Asselbergs considered it important to work with his models in an environment familiar to them, to be able to get them on canvas radiant and self-confident. He tried to uncover the soul of his subjects by portraying them from the front and having them look the observer directly in the eyes.
Next to ‘unknown people’ Asselbergs also portrayed many Dutch celebrities, for example Ruud Lubbers, Queen Beatrix, King Willem-Alexander, Monique van de Ven, Marco Borsato, bishop Hurkmans and former mayor of Tilburg Ruud Vreeman.
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