DIRK VAN ERP IN LEEUWARDEN: A LANDMARK EXHIBITION
APRIL 6, 2018 THROUGH OCTOBER 28, 2018
The Dirk van Erp exhibit in Leeuwarden continues to draw many visitors. This is all new information to people in The Netherlands. Here is a letter I just received from Marian van Erp, Pieter van Erp's wife, which talks about a recent tour given in association with the exhibition along with some related photographs I wanted to share:
Today I want to tell you about the city walk the HCL organised yesterday: In the Footsteps of Dirk van Erp. The guide was Pieter van den Ende. He knows a lot about Leeuwarden in the last half of the 19th century. Lutske was also present. She had phoned us to ask if the group could have a look at the little space behind the shop at Nieuwestad 28, where the name Willem is written in the wall to make the Van Erp experience a bit more realistic. You know what I mean.
We started at the exhibiton at the Pier Pander Museum and after the walk the group could return there to have a closer look at all the beautiful things Dirk van Erp made.
We walked first to the edge of the Prinsentuin where the nursery school is, where Dirk and his brothers and sisters went. In that time a very unhealthy place, with smelling shot boxes in the building and a stove which burned turf. There were 60 children in one classroom!
The school is now used by the city police as a guardroom, but was 40 years ago still a nursery school. We discovered yesterday that our daughers went to the same school their great-great uncle Dirk went, but 110 year later it was no longer unhealthy, with better classrooms and toilets.
Then we went on to the primary school, which was on the Oldehoofster Kerkhof, in the shadow of the famous tower. That school was broken down a long time ago, because it was build on the remnant of the churchyard, which was not very healthy either. But Dirk and his brothers and sisters spent their schoolyears there.
From there we walked to Nieuwestad 28 and Pieter told something about the early years of Dirk and Dolf, his grandfather and Willem, his father. We went on to the cinema "The Tivoli", which was the catholic Bonifatius church where the family van Erp went on Sunday. In 1884 the new Bonifatius church was build on the Voorstreek by the famous dutch architect P.J.H. Cuypers. When Dirk was released from prison in 1887, he probably went to the new church.
We continued the walk to the corner of the Beijersstraat and the Muggesteeg, where Dirk and his mates committed their crime. The whole group was very surprised about the hight of his penalty: 5 years in prison, for standing on watch. The pictures were made there. Then we walked to the Blokhuispoort and the guide talked about the history of the prison and how life in prison was when Dirk was there. The group walked back to the museum, but Pieter and I went home, a three hours walk was a little much for me, but now that my broken ankle has healed, I'm very glad I can walk again!
It was very nice that in the group were also others members from the Van Erp family: A cousin of Karleen Veenker named Marjon Remmer, she is a grandniece of Pieter, and Jos van Erp and his sister Margriet, a grandnephes and a grandniece. They are grandchildren of Yvo Theodorus van Erp, a younger brother of Dirk and Dolf, born 22 juli 1869, died 12 januari 1942, who was a painter In Leeuwarder. His successsor in the company was his son Chris, and his successor is his son Peter. So there is another Van Erp company which has survived until now.
In the group were also some people who knew the Arts and Craft Movement and the work of Dirk van Erp. It would have been wonderful if you had been here to take this walk with us!
As you may have noticed: we had again a wonderful afternoon, we learned things we did not know about our hometown, and with a little family reunion!
All thanks to Dirk van Erp, Lutske Visser and you Isak.
We hope you are well too and send you our warm regards,
The van Erp shop was located by Wolfshead Alley. This information and the drawing above thanks to Marian van Erp. The man who built the shop was named Hans Wolfszoon and he was a saddleback maker. The alley was named after him: de Wolvesteeg and when Dirk's father Willem started the shop he kept the name "In the wolf" The Wolfshead which was on the building was stolen in 1917, because the thieves thought it was made of copper, but is was actually wood with a copper color.
Here follow some photographs I took when Pieter van Erp gave my friend, Alan Thomsen, and I a private tour of the old shop. The shop is at a unique juncture. Finally closed after more than a century, the building is on the market and the business has been purchased by a young man who has re-opened two doors down from the old location. When one walks inside, "ghosts" of the old days are everywhere, writing on beams and doors, random objects which at this point seem purposeless which years earlier were vital to get the work accomplished.
More pictures to follow later this week. A tour of Leeuwarden life today....
#1. THE DIRK VAN ERP EXHIBITION WE HAVE BEEN WORKING ON FOR SO LONG OPENED IN HOLLAND ON APRIL 6TH!
My friend, Alan Thomsen and I arrived in The Netherlands on April 4th and traveled to Leeuwarden from Amsterdam to attend the opening of the exhibition. Below: The Emmakade; the street where our bed and breakfast was located. (Two blocks from the Blokhuispoort prison where Dirk van Erp spent five years of his early life.) Below a little tour and some of the exhibit for your enjoyment and edification.
It rained that first night. This was my view from my bedroom window. Wilma, the home's owner, gave me her son's old room which was filled with toys. Alan stayed in the back bedroom looking out onto the urban jungle of backyards on the block. I could hardly stop looking at the view outside this window, rain or shine, night or day.
Two rare van Erp boxes: A large strapped box with monogram and an applied cut-out windmill motif. A unique complex cut-out floral design on its lid backed by a greened patina. This box was formerly in the collection of Don Ritchie, my friend and one of the earliest collector/dealers of Dirk van Erp in the Bay Area. As far as I know, it is the only such example known to have been made by the van Erp workshop/studio.
The objects in this exhibition were expressly chosen by Lutske Vlieger who had a vision which was very clear to her from the start. Her eye is an advanced one and had there been more time and more funds available, the exhibit would have included many more objects. Mounting an exhibition like this, one which involved the shipping and insurance of objects from one country, across an ocean, to another one was a monumental task for a small history center in a relatively small town to undertake. Undaunted, Lutske worked for over two years to get sponsors' approval and support. She had mine from the "get go". We also both counted on support from the staff of the center with whom she worked. She had initially chosen many more objects, exercising an advanced aesthetic which surprised me as she is a young archivist who was not initially conversant with the range of the studio's work. But we did our best under the circumstances and only wish we would have been able to indulge that aesthetic and mount a larger exhibition for the people of Leeuwarden as well as the visitors who will come to see the exhibit from all over Europe and beyond during the next seven months. As improbable a coming together as this has been, we have been able to pull it off. We all had a great deal of help from my friend, Alan Thomsen who did copious amounts of translation of documents in Dutch to English, from Karleen's first emails and information to Lutske's research in the magazine Leovardia which proved invaluable to all on both sides of the water and who accompanied me to Leeuwarden to help me navigate the city. His friendship,sensitive suggestions along the way, and his particular strength and daring lifting precarious glass cubes at the last minute must also be gratefully noted! Also particular thanks to Lutske's able assistant, Janneke Visser, and the Historisch Centrum's director, Geart de Vries, whose generous approval and energy in bringing this exhibit together was crucial and welcome. Everyone worked so hard to make this a reality. This may not be the biggest exhibit, but it is the very first. And of course we all hope it will not be the last. Thanks finally to Pieter and Marian van Erp whose participation has given the credibility of the family name, documentation, and personal history as well as the van Erp shop letters all of which add to the exhibit a unique authenticity and character.
At long last, Dirk van Erp’s work is now on exhibit in the city and land of his birth.
“Dirk van Erp Leeuwarder Copper Artist Made in America (1862-1933)".
The Pier Pander Museum is holding in its current season (April 7- October 28) an exhibition about the life and work of Dirk van Erp, artist in copper born in Leeuwarden.
Van Erp emigrated in 1890 to the U.S. He settled in California and grew to be one of America’s foremost copper artists. He became quite well known in the Arts and Crafts Movement which advocated traditional hand-made craft.
Dirk van Erp’s work can now be seen for the first time in the Netherlands at the Pier Pander Museum. Pander and Van Erp were moreover contemporaries and fellow artists, both Frisian emigrants from modest lineage who went on to become successful artists.”
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Copyright © 2014-2021, 2020-2025