Jan Toorop

ICONOFGRAPHICS

The Netherlands, 1858 - 1928

Jan Toorop in his studio in Katwijk aan Zee
1902

Jan Theodoor Toorop was born on December 20 in Purworedjo Java, Indonesia. He was not only a Dutch Impressionist, Symbolist and Art Nouveau painter, but also an illustrator and graphic designer.

At the age of 11 he left Indonesia for the Netherlands, and attended high school in Leiden, followed by Winterswijk and The Hague. His artistic intrests lead him to the National Academy for the Arts in Amsterdam, where he worked in sculptures and crafts. To continue his education he moved to Brussels with his friend Antoon Derkinderen and took lessons at the Academy of Fine Arts.

In Brussels he joined Les XX (Les Vingt, The Twenty), a group of young belgian artists centered around James Ensor and Fernand Khnopff. Les xx saw themselves as progressive artists, often turned down by the bourgeois art circles and in return rejecting the conservative values.

You can find more information on
'Les xx' here.

While traveling trough western Europe with members of Les xx and exhibiting in several cities, he met artists like James Whistler and William Morris.

Levensverzekerings-maatschappij Arnhem
poster
ca. 1900-1906

Het Hooge Land
poster, Lithography, 877x655mm
1896

In 1890 he returned to the Netherlands. During this period he developed his symbolist vision in which he depicts a world beyond reality, by using unpredictable, curvy lines and symbols as ways of expression.

Psyche
bookcover
publisher: L.J. Veen
1898

Babel
bookcover
publisher: L.J. Veen
1901

Metamorfoze
bookcover
publisher: L.J. Veen
1897

God en goden
bookcover
publisher: L.J. Veen
1903

He used this curvy style not only for high-art symbolist paintings, but also for more decorative, commercial purposes. From 1894 onwards he designed several posters and bookcovers.

Delftsche Slaolie
poster, 950x540mm
1894

Study
drawing, 390x215mm
1894
The original study design for the famous poster Delftsche Slaolie by Jan Toorop, 1895, executed in pen and yellow pencil. In comparison with the original image, the poster is in reverse.

The best known example of his art-nouveau style work is the poster for the Delft Salad Oil. The only thing that makes clear this is an advertisement is the heading on top, with a picture of the bottle on either side. The two stylized women, wearing exhuberant dresses dominate the image. The lady on the left pours oil on the salad, the one on the right points at the peanuts which form the ingredients for the oil. Centered among the curves is the weapon of the manufacturer and the hair of both women, which fills the larger part of the image. Not an inch is left uncovered. In this poster Toorop elevates preparing salad to the level of a mystic rite.*
This poster became so popular that ever since Art-nouveau style is known as Salad-Oil-style in the netherlands.









* from jan-toorop.com.

Deutsche kunst und dekoration
Cover for a magazine, 285x197mm
1902

V.V.V. Katwijk aan Zee
poster, 1010x720mm
1900

In 1905 Toorop converted to Roman Catholicism. During this time his work became more mystic and religious.

Het Roomsche kerkgebouw
bookcover
1908

Loten van de Nationale Tentoonstelling
poster
1898

Despite the fact that he was almost continuously confined to a wheel chair by 1920, caused by the paralysis of his left leg, he continued to work, mostly on drawings propagating the catolic belief.
He died at the age of 69 on march 3rd, 1928 in The Hague.

Jan Toorop's work influenced countless contemporaries, amongst whom the Austrian Gustav Klimt, and several dutch graphic designers like Van der Leck.

Droom
Bookcover
1899
publisher: P.N. van Kampen & Zn

Carmen Pro Invictis
Bookcover, 240x200mm
1901

In den nevel
Magazine cover, 215x143mm
1895

"In den Nevel" means "In the mist". It is a periodical for students of the Delft University of Technology. Its cover was originally carved as a woodcut and every year the cover was printed with a different color.

Venise sauvee
poster, 445x279mm
1895

Pandorra
poster
1919

Kunsthandel Brok
poster
1920