|Jan Daniël Beynon (1830-1877)
signed and dated 1869 lower right, canvas, 49 x 38 cm.
Not much is known about the life of Jan Daniel Beynon, especially about his education before he wentto study in Holland in 1848, nor about his career or character. Being one of the first Indo-European professional painters who received his artistic education in the Netherlands, he is an important and interesting figure. We know he came from a well-to-do family in service of the VOC, that had been settled at Batavia since the middle of the eighteenth century. His father owned a firm called Beynon Brothers, and must have been successful and wealthy enough to send his son overseas to receive artistic training.
Indeed, it is clear that Beynon was a very talented young man, as in 1848 he left Batavia to study at the Amsterdam Academy (‘Koninklijke Academie’) in the Netherlands, where he was accepted as a pupil of the celebrated Cornelis Kruseman and Nicolaas Pieneman. The exact duration of this study is also unknown, but we do know that some of his works were shown at the Amsterdam and the Hague exhibitions of 1852 and 1853, respectively. Despite these being typical Dutch genre paintings, titled ‘Girl by a brook’, ‘The two street musicians’ (sold by us June 2014), and ‘Children visiting a grave’, they anticipate his later work, depicting Javanese rural life.
In 1855 Beynon returned to his homeland, Batavia, where he would live for the rest of his life. He established his studio at Molenvliet (Jalan Gajah Mada). At that time, Beynon and Raden Saleh were the only educated painters on Java in the 19th century. He also maintained contact with Dutch artistic circles, as two of his paintings were shown at the Amsterdam exhibition of 1868.
In spite of his short life – he died at the age of 47 – Beynon created a large collection of paintings, specifically of landscapes and scenes from Javanese daily life, as well as portraits, most of which were made in the last decade of his life. Unfortunately, only a few of his works have been preserved. The Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam owns three landscapes and four portraits by Beynon, and is the only public institution in the Netherlands that owns his work. Possibly one of these portraits depicts the same woman we see on this painting by Beynon, namely Wilhelmina Margaretha Martherus.
This painting will be at auction on the 4th of June 2015.
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