(Den Bosch 1881 – Amsterdam 1957)
Portrait of a variety artist
Oil on canvas, 76.4 x 70 cm
– Collection Bokma, Leeuwarden
– Private collection, The Netherlands
Jan Sluijters was one of the innovators of Dutch painting at the beginning of the 20th century. Besides the usual landscapes and cityscapes Sluijters also painted many portraits. He depicted the cosmopolitan bar- and nightlife in his brightly coloured portraits of nude women and high-profile society figures. A colourist such as Sluijters liked to be inspired by colourful models. Just as he dressed up his nudes with colourful scarves, veils and other attributes, he selected his models on their skin colour, appearance or dress which stood out from those of the average man or woman. He often had coloured people pose for him in his studio: dressed as dandy gentlemen, boxers or variety artists. The jury of the Prix de Rome was outraged over the vulgar works Sluijters produced: the nude women, the unrestrained style of painting and the use of colour met with strong criticism. The contemporary press picked up on the discussion, causing Sluijters to gain an even larger notoriety.