Skip to main content

Wijnand Otto Jan Nieuwenkamp (1874-1950) ‘A sailing prahu in Semarang’

By 19 november 2019No Comments
W.O.J. Nieuwenkamp, Indonesian Art Auction 6th of December 2019

From Nieuwenkamp’s diary about his voyage to Java in 1898:Nieuwenkamp met Mr. G.P Rouffaer, an important man in those times. He was involved with the first ethnological museum in The Netherlands, and published many articles about arts and crafts, archeology, history, ethnology, geography and cartography. In 2015 a book about his life was published titled (translated from Dutch): ‘Rouffaer, the last Indies explorer’. (1)
Rouffaer supported Nieuwenkamp, and asked him to do research about local arts and crafts of the people from the islands he visited. He pushed Nieuwenkamp to make drawings and to collect objects for the museum, which had only few objects at that time.
When Nieuwenkamp travelled to Java in 1898, he made drawings of ships and local boats as Rouffaer had asked him to do. These drawings were made for the new Encyclopedia of the Dutch Indies, for which Rouffaer was writing the texts. However, these ship-drawings were never published in that book. The reason for that might be that Rouffaer became sick and could not work so much.Nieuwenkamp made a pen-drawing of the same boat in 1898, and a woodcut (a detail of the boat) in August 1903 (2). The current lot is dated 1898 (when he saw the boat), but probably made a few years later (around 1904, after his first visit to Bali). Stylistically, this coloured drawing is similar to his early Balinese period. The present lot is one of the few known coloured drawings of ships.
We thank Cary Venselaar, author of the new book ‘W.O.J. Nieuwenkamp, alles voor de kunst!’ for this information.
(1) Okkers, F., ‘Rouffaer, de laatste Indische ontdekkingsreiziger’, Uitgeverij Boom, 2015.(2) Venselaar, C., ‘W.O.J. Nieuwenkamp, alles voor de kunst!’, LM Publishers, Volendam December 2019, p. 69
More information about our auctions of Indonesian paintings:René de VisserZeeuws Veilinghuis – Zeeland