Someone visited our home recently who wondered about the art on our walls. He admired how much we have. His walls are pretty bare (I know so, because I visited his home a few times) and he told me he only wants to put something up that has meaning. So far he and his wife haven’t come across such objects to hang on the wall other than family photos. It made me realize how lucky I am I grew up surrounded by art. The main reason is that we had a painter in our family. He is called Jan van der Baan and he was married to my mother’s aunt, the sister of my grandfather. Tante Peta and Oom Jan lived in Groningen and every time we visited the city we would ring their doorbell to have a coffee in their apartment close to the Groninger Museum (which Tante Peta had strong opinions about when the first plans were revealed). Oom Jan died when I was still in primary school, but his artwork was always present in our home. Over the years my parents got gifted with pieces and after Tante Peta died the family had to divide the remainders of Jan’s collection of paintings. I got a few pieces as well (there was A LOT still in storage).

One uncle of mine, Oom Jan’s nephew, played in a band. Jan made many paintings of them playing. The most beautiful piece is of course in possession of my uncle. The variation that hangs on my wall seems to be unfinished. The left part looks great, the right part feels off. There is a reason Oom Jan stored it in the basement and never sold it or gave it away. Despite its flaws, I’ve grown to love this painting. It’s big and the colours really brighten up the room. Unconsciously, over the years the Man and I bought furniture and accessories in colours that harmonize with the colours of this painting.

After Tante Peta died, my mother took on a project to take pictures of as many of Oom Jan’s artwork as she could trace. Some of those pictures are still on Flickr. A wonderful overview of the variety of his work.