Persona January, 4th 2024 by

World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 447 - Doortje van Ginneken

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World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 447 – Doortje van Ginneken

Doortje van Ginneken’s studio is located on Westeinde, one of the oldest streets in The Hague. It is a large and high space with a front part, where musical rehearsals are often held, and a back part, the actual studio. Between them is a heavy curtain that has now been pushed open.

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Doortje paints landscapes in oil paint. To my right on the wall hangs a somewhat abstract painting of new land in the sea, based on the ‘Sand Motor’ between Kijkduin and Ter Heijde, the place where Maarten Tromp fought a sea battle.

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The landscape

Doortje: “I start from the landscape, for me it contains everything. It is a beautiful shape, with a view, and I can also find some wisdom in it. I prefer to paint a landscape with a story, sometimes you see old buildings or bunkers in it. It can also include desolation and loneliness. It’s never fun and cute.”

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The paintings are part of a series entitled ‘Beyond Landscape’ (Voorbij Landschap). Five years ago she started with ‘Beyond Landscape I’, now she is already with ‘Beyond Landscape VI’. “It’s beyond the landscape, a look behind it. It may be over for buildings and bunkers in the landscape. In addition, there is another meaning: beyond the literal landscape.”

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The Panbos

She can fit a lot into it, she says. “I can go ‘loose’, I can leave something out of the literal landscape. Because I work in oil paint, it can go in any direction. I have the freedom.” Occasionally she paints outside, in Meijendel, or near Wassenaar, near the old bunkers of the Panbos, in the middle of the dune landscape. “They are remains of bunkers, with a beautiful shape. Its story also counts. Sometimes, when I’m in a different mood, I go to the Zandmotor, below Kijkduin. Beautiful how the sea changes with new landscape. I also paint in Zeeland, there are very deserted areas. You feel the desolation, an end of the world feeling.”

She starts based on photos and sketches. “They are sketches on the canvas. I apply the oil paint in thin layers on top of each other, then you get depth. I also enjoy working with homemade paint, tempera and oil. I then start with (egg) tempera and then continue with oil paint. Acrylic is not for me, once it is on the canvas you cannot change it, in oil paint you can easily change.”

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Does she have a key work?

She has. She points to the painting on the wall of the Sand Motor. “In this I go from a real thing to an abstract form. That started two/three years ago in 2021. I started painting more abstractly in general. It’s a process. I am also still a bit involved in figurative work, I want to get rid of that in the long run, it is a struggle.”

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How long has she been an artist?

For a long time. In the 80s/90s she attended the Royal Academy. Before that she did figure drawing at the Vrije Academie. “I switched. I was ready for a real Academy. I missed the basis there, I found it at the Royal Academy. Content, form, technique and use of materials. It is a very solid Academy. I still benefit from it.”

Her parents advised her against going into art, but she did it anyway. She worked at the Koorenhuis for a long time. “Until 2014, Halbe Zijlstra made major cuts. That caused havoc. When I was fired, I spent six months thinking: what should I do? After six months I thought: this is the time to become a self-employed painter and also continue to teach painting here in the studio.”

She also became active for G A L E R I E 4 4 in Molenstraat (an initiative of the Old Catholic Church in Juffrouw Idastraat). “Jacques Zwaan from Pulchri Studio started that gallery. There I organize exhibitions of contemporary modern art and everything related to it.”

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What is her experience of art life?

“I love it, you are completely thrown back on yourself. It also happens that you don’t know something. I don’t mind struggling with work. It doesn’t always work, you will have messed up the tubes and the canvas. You shouldn’t complain about that.

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It is nice to exhibit somewhere a few times a year and to be a member of an association like Pulchri Studio. In addition to the annual Spring and Autumn salon exhibition, I will also participate in an upcoming duo exhibition.”

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Finally, what is her philosophy?

“I like art when it expresses wonder. If I can put that in, if I succeed, it will be wonderful.”


1) Doortje in her studio, 2 – 3) landscape, 4) Praia, 5) Salinas, 6) Wissant I, 7) portrait Doortje van Ginneken, 8) Dorendel, 9) Heerenduin II Battery, 10) Sand Motor

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