Why a website about Julie van der Veen?
Dorothé Bijl and Aad van Meerkerk tell ...
In 2017, we looked at Marktplaats (the Dutch e-Bay) for a colorful painting for our living room. At a trader in Alblasserdam we encountered an abstract work by artist Julie van der Veen, unknown to us. After we bought the work, we went looking for more information about the artist.
The amount of information available was very limited, but via a thesis on the Internet about the Iraqi Yūnus Baḥrī, with whom Julie van der Veen was married for a short time, we arrived at Narcisse Vollenbroek and her husband Herman Vollenbroek. We asked them if they could provide us with more information.
Narcisse Vollenbroek-Bornau remembers ...
I met Julie in 1988, in The Hague. I came to visit her in her flat in the Moerwijk quarter to nurse her. At that time Julie was 85 years old, frail, but strong in spirit, that quickly became clear to me. I was 36, almost fifty years younger.
When I came inside, I was shocked by the entourage in which this old woman lived. She lived on the concrete floor, there was no carpet, her bed was in the middle of the living room, a cage in front of the window, the bird flying freely through the room. I had not yet encountered such a strange, eccentric poverty.
Julie was a little suspicious of me, perhaps she was angry about another nurse, but after I had spoken my first words, her mood turned and her grumbling changed into beautiful, French-speaking courtesy. She wanted to know everything about me and told me a lot about herself. That went on with every new visit, where Julie also showed her works by pointing to the floor under her bed where most of the pieces lay, cloths of paintings and drawings, rolled up and tied together with ribbons. Then I crawled across the floor, looked at them one by one, and listened to Julie's explanation. Her life and work fascinated me immediately!
Herman Vollenbroek adds ...
That is how Julie and Narcisse became friends. Narcisse was very fond of the fate of Julie, she made her happy with her visits and interest in her art. Together they made plans for exhibitions and Narcisse even suggested the idea of writing a biography. Julie loved it!
The exhibitions were realized in 1990 and shortly after her death in 1997, Narcisse organized a Remembrance exhibition at the Haagse Kunstkring. She did this together with Hannie Bal, their joint friend and fellow painter.
Together we write ...
Regarding Julie's biography, the plans are realized through this website. It has been realized with unifying power between Dorothé and Aad, who are interested in her life and work through the purchase of Julie's painting Composition, and on the other hand Narcisse and Herman, who want to share everything they know about Julie van der Veen with everyone everyone who has sympathy for her.
But first the word to Julie. She wrote her biography in the summer of 1990, she was 87 years old, bedridden, struggling with her legs, but clear in spirit. We have illustrated her story with photos and paintings she has left us, and placed links to the people who were important in her life.
Lots of reading and viewing pleasure!