Rien Poortvliet

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Rien Poortvliet
Rien Poortvliet.jpg
Rien Poortvliet, May 18, 1978
Born (1932-08-07)7 August 1932
Schiedam, Netherlands
Died September 15, 1995(1995-09-15) (aged 63)
Soest, Utrecht, Netherlands
Nationality Dutch
Known for Painting

Rien Poortvliet (August 7, 1932 – September 15, 1995) was a Dutch draughtsman and painter.

Born in Schiedam, he was best known for his drawings[1] of animals and for "Gnomes" in the famous series of books provided with text by Wil Huygen[2] and published by Harry N. Abrams, Inc. of New York City.

Being a plasterer's son from Schiedam, making a living as an artist did not seem an option for Rien Poortvliet. His parents were strict Dutch Reformed and were opposed to the idea of their oldest son going to an art academy.

Rien's aptitude for drawing showed early on. After primary education the young Rien worked at an ad agency, where he could make some use of his talent. He also had talent for the advertising profession because after he had completed his draft time in the Navy he rose to senior manager at Lintas, Unilever's ad agency.

Rien took more pleasure in the work he did on the side for several publishers. He illustrated various books, among them works by Jaap ter Haar (nl), Leonard Roggeveen (nl) and Godfried Bomans. He was also a passionate hunter, which led him to drawing various nature subjects.

By the end of the 1960s, Poortvliet was able to make a living as an independent illustrator. To supplement his income, he made a book out of his drawings and watercolours based on his hunting experiences. Later on, he also made a similar work concerning the life of Jesus Christ.

Poortvliet saw himself as a storyteller in drawings. His drawings told the tale, and at most he added a short caption.

For years his works were published by Van Holkema en Warendorf in Bussum, where his "Leven en werken van de Kabouter" (co-authored by Wil Huygen, English title is "Gnomes") saw an astonishing 59 printings. With the Gnomes series Poortvliet acquired international fame. This series took on a life of its own, and was turned into an animated series in 1985.

His books were translated into English, French, German, Swedish, Finnish, Spanish, Italian and other languages.

Fame and recognition[edit]

The general public was delighted with Poortvliet's drawings. Some critics thought Poortvliet hypocritical since he painted beautiful nature scenes while being a fervent hunter. Yet he was elated to be the centre of attention[citation needed]. He did well on television with his goatee, his corduroy trousers and his chequered jackets[citation needed]. For a few years, Poortvliet was a panel member in "Zo Vader, Zo Zoon" (a Dutch game show).

Poortvliet found recognition when Prince Bernhard opened the Rien Poortvliet Museum in 1992. This museum stood in the old, historic Town Hall of Middelharnis, "Fortunately far away from the modern art gang in Amsterdam" as Poortvliet said in an interview. The Rien Poortvliet Museum in Middelharnis has now closed its doors to the public (December 16, 2006). Because of sharply reduced visitor numbers the museum could no longer meet its financial obligations. It has reopened on the island of Tiengemeten as per July 7, 2009.

Rien Poortvliet died in Soest in 1995 of bone cancer at the age of 63. He was married to Corrie Bouman and they have two sons.

Works[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&q=Rien+Poortvliet&btnG=Search+Images&gbv=2
  2. ^ O'Connor, John J. (November 11, 1980). "TV: Animated 'Gnomes'and Saturn Rendezvous". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-08-14. 

External links[edit]