The Fries Museum is honouring the 100th birthday of artist Jentsje Popma (Zwolle, 1921) with an intimate presentation of his extraordinary work from 30 September 2021 to 17 April 2022. Popma is sometimes called ‘a cheerful doomsayer’. This versatile artist devoted the lion’s share of his painted oeuvre to the Frisian landscape, because he saw how it is being degraded by climatic changes, human intervention and the mechanisation of agriculture. Jentsjes lânskip features landscapes by Popma from the Fries Museum’s collection, displayed opposite paintings by other artists from the museum collection that resonate with his work and his vision of the landscape.
This presentation is part of the celebrations that are being organised this year as a tribute to the 100th anniversary of Jentsje Popma’s birth. The Nijkleaster Foundation is presenting a large retrospective of Popma’s work in the Grote Kerk in Leeuwarden until 2 October 2021, and a sales exhibition in the church in Jorwert on the weekend of 9 and 10 October. Museum Belvédère in Heerenveen-Oranjewoud is also exhibiting a selection from the centenarian’s wide-ranging oeuvre from 30 September to 5 December 2021.
jentsje popma: a brief biography
Jentsje Popma was already being awarded prizes while he was studying at the art academy in Rotterdam (1939-1942) and the Rijksacademie in Amsterdam (1943-1949). However, after the war, work was in short supply for classically trained artists, so he concentrated on glass art and commissions. Until the 1970s, he designed numerous stained glass windows and wall reliefs for schools, churches and commercial buildings. From 1961, he was also an art teacher at Minerva Academy of Art in Groningen and a fierce advocate of artists’ interests. In the 1970s, he phased out his applied work and, after retiring from teaching in 1985, focused on painting, especially landscapes.
He turned down a knighthood in the Order of Orange-Nassau in 1992. In 2007, he received the Leeuwarder Pommeranten Pries, followed by the Friese Anjer in 2021. In 2015, he donated his Leeuwarder studio and all his remaining artworks to Stifting Nijkleaster, which aims to establish a Protestant monastery in Jorwert.