George Jan Hendrik (‘Geo’) Poggenbeek
1853 – Amsterdam – 1903
Geo Poggenbeek had an ‘ordinary’ office job before he became a painter. In his spare time however, he was often outside. Drawing was his passion. When he was 19 years old and he met the painter Theo Hanrath he was immediately sold. He quit his job and chose the studio over the office. After studying with J.H. Veldhuizen for two years, he came into contact with Nicolaas Bastert. Coincidentally Bastert had also just quit his job. The two youngsters got along well from the start and they would become friends for life.
In 1872 Poggenbeek enrolled at the Academy of the Arts in Amsterdam. Together with Bastert and Hanrath he often went to Oosterbeek and Rolde to draw and paint in water colours. By that time Oosterbeek had become a famous artists’ village. And Rolde was the place where Gerardine van de Sande Bakhuyzen and her brother Julius spent their summers. After his studies at the Academy Poggenbeek moved into a spacious studio near Oosterpark, Amsterdam in 1878. Bastert took up residence here as well, when he returned to the Dutch capital after a period of studying in Antwerp. The two roommates apparently got along very well, as they bought a small house in Breukelen together in 1881. The picturesque Vecht region was a great source of inspiration for both artists. They also made several study trips together, to Switserland, France and Italy. In the early 1890s Poggenbeek spent longer periods in Normandy and Brittany.
Both Poggenbeek and Bastert emerged as true landscape painters. Because they spent so much time together it is no surprise that there are many similarities in their paintings. Poggenbeek’s landscapes however have a somewhat more delicate atmosphere. That is why his work is compared to that of Anton Mauve as well. Geo Poggenbeek had a distinctive feel for harmony and intimacy. This is reflected mostly in his compositions and in the way he painted details such as a gnarled tree trunk or slender twigs and leaves. These characteristics probably stand out best in water colours.