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The Amsterdamse Joffers / Le Signore dell'Post-impressionismo Olandese

The Amsterdamse Joffers were a group of women artists who met weekly in Amsterdam at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century.
They supported each other in their professional careers.
Most of them were students of the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten and belonged to the movement of the Amsterdam Impressionists.
Each one became a successful artist.

Thérèse Schwartze (1851-1918)

The Amsterdam Joffer painters group

As a group they contributed to the social acceptance in the Netherlands of women becoming professional artists.

Origin and development


In 1894, Lizzy Ansingh and Coby Ritsema began their studies at the Rijksacademie in a separate class for female students.
Around them, a group of young women, mostly fellow-students, came together to found a circle.
The purpose was to exchange experiences as women who wanted to become professional artists.

They had weekly meetings at the residence of Thérèse Schwartze, an established painter who was Ansingh´s aunt.

They came from wealthy and artistic families, and did not depend on painting for their livelihoods.
Almost all of them were students of the Rijksakademie and followed classes with August Allebé, Nicolaas van der Waay and Carel Dake.

Suze Robertson was in certain ways an exception in the group.

She was older, already married and had studied at the Delft University of Technology. Nelly Bodenheim was an illustrator, not a painter like the other members.
Ansingh, Ritsema, Robertson, Jacoba Surie and Betsy Westendorp-Osieck were members of artist associations Arti et Amicitiae, kunstvereniging Sint Lucas and Pulchri Studio.

Betsy Osieck | A Still Life with Grapes and a Bowl, 1965

Ritsema is considered the most talented of the group.
She initially received her education at the Haarlem School of Art before joining the women´s group at the Rijksakademie.
She was influenced by Dutch impressionists such as her brother Jacob Ritsema, George Hendrik Breitner and Fredrik Theodorus Grabijn.

Some of Ritsema´s students were Jacoba Surie, Jan van den Hengst, Tine Honey, Victoire Winix and Lize Duyvis.
Starting around 1900, at the anual art exhibitions of the artist societies Sint Lucas in the Stedelijk Museum, Arti et Amicitiae and Pulchri Studios, works of Ansingh, Ritsema and Robertson were exhibited and favourably received.

Individual recognition

In the first decade of the 20th century, the members of the circle were regularly present at the annual art exhibits of artist societies in Amsterdam.
In 1905 Ansing, Ritsema and Marie van Regteren-Altena participated in a collective exhibit in Hamburg.

Lizzy Ansingh | Dolls, 1936

In 1906, Ansingh received the Willink van Collenprijs, a prestigious recognition for young artists.
In 1907, members of the group participated in an exhibition of international masters in the Stedelijk Museum.
In 1910, Ritsema won the bronze medal at the Brussels international.

Jacoba Ritsema | Fruits on Bowl

Jacoba Ritsema | A still life with vegetables and an eartherware strainer

At that time, the young women were established artists.

In 1919, Ansingh and Ritsema became the first female board members with voting rights of the Arti and Amicitiae artist association.

Collective recognition: the group adopts a name Albert Plasschaert, art critic and pen friend of Ansingh, named the group Amsterdamse Joffers in a newspaper article in 1912.

The term Amsterdamsche Joffers, as it was spelled at the time, was known because of an unrelated historical novel by Marie van Zeggelen from 1900.
The novel carried illustrations by Ansingh. The name stuck, not in the least because the artists themselves, already approaching their 40´s, used it frequently.
The word Joffer means maiden, Miss or young lady. In the 1920´s and under the name Amsterdam Joffers the group frequently exhibited their work at Kunstzaal Frans Buffa, an Amsterdam art gallery.

A 1947 book by Johan van Eikeren consolidated the expression Amsterdamse Joffers in Dutch art history.
The separate class for women at the Rijksacademie was long gone.

Style and subject

The Amsterdamse Joffers used different styles but in general terms are part of the Amsterdam Impressionism art movement. Their subject choice is dominated by still life and portraiture.

Ans van den Berg | The Chinese cloth

Ansing was famous for her paintings of dolls.
The female painters of the Amsterdam Impressionism belonged to a later generation than the French female impressionists Marie Bracquemond (1840-1916), Mary Cassatt (1845-1926), Eva Gonzalès (1847-1893) and Berthe Morisot (1841-1895).

Characteristic of the french female impressionists is the powerful, light-filled color palette with lively motifs.
The Joffers used colours typical of the leading Dutch impressionist movement, the Hague School.

These darker colours create a quieter and more melancholic atmosphere.
The French women painters preferred landscape painting of coasts, harbors and countryside with views of the city, together with still life and portrait.
The Dutch women chose almost exclusively still life and portrait.

The style and subject of each group reflect the time and context in which they worked, which is in a way the essence of impressionism.

Members of the circle

The 1947 book by Johan van Eikeren identified eight artists as Amsterdamse Joffers: Ansingh, Ritsema, van den Berg, Bauer-Stumpff, Bodenheim, Westendorp-Osieck, Surie and van Regteren-Altena.
Other analysts often include also Robertson and Ansingh´s sister, Sorella Therese.
The influence of host and mentor Thérèse Schwartze is also often recognized.

Thérèse Schwartze | Self-portrait, 1888 | Uffizi Gallery

Lizzy Ansingh (1875-1959);
Jo Bauer-Stumpff (1873-1951);
Ans van den Berg (1873-1942);
Nelly Bodenheim (1874-1951);
Marie van Regteren Altena (1868-1958);
Suze Bisschop-Robertson (1855-1922);
Jacoba Surie (1879-1970);
Johanna Elisabeth (Betsy) Westendorp-Osieck (1880-1968). | Source: © Wikipedia

Thérèse Schwartze | Portret van Lizzy Ansingh | Rijksmuseum

Le "Amsterdamse Joffers" furono un gruppo di artiste che si incontravano settimanalmente ad Amsterdam tra la fine del XIX e l'inizio del XX secolo.
Si sono supportate a vicenda nelle loro carriere professionali.
La maggior parte di loro erano studentesse della Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten e appartenevano al movimento degli impressionisti di Amsterdam.
Ognuna è diventata un artista di successo.
Come gruppo hanno contribuito all'accettazione sociale nei Paesi Bassi delle donne che diventarono artiste professioniste.

Marie Bracquemond | Under the Lamp, Sisley and his wife dine at the Braquements in Sèvres, 1887

Gli inizi

Nel 1894, Lizzy Ansingh e Coby Ritsema iniziarono i loro studi alla Rijksacademie in una classe separata per studentesse.
Intorno a loro, un gruppo di giovani donne, per lo più studentesse, si è riunito per fondare un circolo.
Lo scopo era quello di scambiare esperienze come donne che volevano diventare artiste professioniste.
Avevano incontri settimanali presso la residenza di Thérèse Schwartze, una pittrice affermata che era la zia di Ansingh.

Ans van den Berg | Chrysanthemums

Provenivano da famiglie ricche e artistiche e non dipendevano dalla pittura per il loro sostentamento.
Quasi tutti erano studenti della Rijksakademie e seguivano le lezioni con August Allebé, Nicolaas van der Waay e Carel Dake.
Suze Robertson era per certi versi un'eccezione nel gruppo.
Era più grande, già sposata e aveva studiato alla Delft University of Technology.
Nelly Bodenheim era un'illustratrice, non una pittrice come gli altri membri.

Ansingh, Ritsema, Robertson, Jacoba Surie e Betsy Westendorp-Osieck erano membri delle associazioni di artisti Arti et Amicitiae, kunstvereniging Sint Lucas e Pulchri Studio. Ritsema è considerato il più talentuoso del gruppo.
Inizialmente ha ricevuto la sua formazione presso la Haarlem School of Art prima di unirsi al gruppo femminile alla Rijksakademie.
Fu influenzata dagli impressionisti olandesi come suo fratello Jacob Ritsema, George Hendrik Breitner e Fredrik Theodorus Grabijn.

Alcuni degli studenti di Ritsema erano Jacoba Surie, Jan van den Hengst, Tine Honey, Victoire Winix e Lize Duyvis.
A partire dal 1900 circa, alle mostre d'arte annuali delle società di artisti Sint Lucas allo Stedelijk Museum, Arti et Amicitiae e Pulchri Studios, furono esposte opere della Ansingh, Ritsema e Robertson che furono accolte favorevolmente.

Jo Bauer Stumpff | Anemones

Stile e soggetto

Gli Amsterdamse Joffer usavano stili diversi ma in termini generali fanno parte del movimento artistico dell'Impressionismo di Amsterdam.
La scelta del soggetto è dominata dalla natura morta e dalla ritrattistica. Ansing era famosa per i suoi dipinti di bambole.
Le pittrici dell'Impressionismo di Amsterdam appartenevano a una generazione successiva rispetto alle impressioniste francesi Marie Bracquemond (1840-1916), Mary Cassatt (1845-1926), Eva Gonzalès (1847-1893) e Berthe Morisot (1841-1895).

Caratteristica delle impressioniste francesi è la tavolozza dei colori potente e piena di luce con motivi vivaci.
I Joffer usavano i colori tipici del principale movimento impressionista olandese, la Scuola dell'Aia.
Questi colori più scuri creano un'atmosfera più tranquilla e più malinconica. Le pittrici francesi preferivano la pittura di paesaggi di coste, porti e campagne con vedute della città, insieme a nature morte e ritratti.
Le donne olandesi scelsero quasi esclusivamente la natura morta ed il ritratto.
Lo stile ed il soggetto di ciascun gruppo riflettono il tempo e il contesto in cui hanno lavorato, che è in un certo senso l'essenza dell'impressionismo.

Partecipanti del gruppo

Il libro del 1947 di Johan van Eikeren identificava otto artisti come Amsterdamse Joffers: Ansingh, Ritsema, van den Berg, Bauer-Stumpff, Bodenheim, Westendorp-Osieck, Surie e van Regteren-Altena.
Altri analisti includono spesso anche la sorella di Robertson e Ansingh, Sorella Therese.
Viene spesso riconosciuta anche l'influenza dell'ospite e mentore Thérèse Schwartze (1851-1918).

Lizzy Ansingh (1875-1959);
Jo Bauer-Stumpff (1873-1951);
Ans van den Berg (1873-1942);
Nelly Bodenheim (1874-1951);
Marie van Regteren Altena (1868-1958);
Suze Bisschop-Robertson (1855-1922);
Jacoba Surie (1879-1970);
Johanna Elisabeth (Betsy) Westendorp-Osieck (1880-1968). | Fonte: Tradotto da British Wikipedia