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 Jan Meijer  (1927 - 1995)

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Lived/Active: Netherlands/Italy      Known for: Modernist, abstract, non-objective painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Jan Meijer (Jan Meyer) was born in Assen 1927 (Nederland) and grew up on his father’s farm in the countryside. He began drawing during the German occupation. Around 1944, he visited the studio of Hendrik Werkman, whose advice influenced him.  Meyer developed a working method that took his work away and beyond the careful provincial life depicted in his earlier work.

After World War II, he met Evert Rinsema, one of the oldest members of De stijl* and an old friend of Theo van Doesburg. Through him, he discovered and admired the work of Mondrian, and became acquainted with the Dada* movement in Holland. Rinsema also introduced Meyer to Kirchner’s expressionist* work. Meyer’s life became a search for equilibrium between the nostalgic values of a balanced world, and his busy, expressive character.

During a short period Meyer studied at the Rijksakademie and the Rijksopleinding voor Tekenleraren in Amsterdam. At the end of the 1940’s Meyer’s work was exhibited together with the work of the “de ploeg” artists. His palette was dominated by mauve, black and dark blue, with yellow planes breaking through.

The rough style of the French artist Jean Dubuffet is visible on Meyer’s paintings of the 1950’s, even though he didn’t know the painter. From 1948, Meyer frequently exhibited his work at the gallery, The Eendt, in Amsterdam. His first solo exhibition abroad took place in 1957 in Paris, at the Galerie Dina Vierny.

His exhibition at the Premio Lissone during a stay in Italy marked an important period in the artist’s life. Famous abstract artists frequented this place, such as Fontana, Saura, Klein, Appel and Corneille.

Jan Meyer’s works can be assigned to the category of the “informe- le materie-schilders” (Lyric Abstraction*). In 1958, Jan Meyer was selected for the Grand Prix International de Peinture while living in Nicolas de Staël’s atelier in Antibes.  In 1960 he settled permanently outside Paris, in Dieudonné, a little village in the Oise region. His frequent journeys – mostly to Greece – were an inexhaustible source of inspiration for his large thick layers of paint, which were placed over each other, often with a dissipation of many colors.

Meyer’s work can be found in several private and public collections such as in the musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Tate Gallery in London, Gemeentemuseum in the Hague and Stedelijk Museum in Schiedam.

Jan Meyer passed away in 1995.

Submitted by Bill Lockwood, whose source is the website of the artist

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