Monday, 5 May 2014

Garnwerd: a small world !

Strolling and scanning a huge carboot in the weekend is always an adventure and a treat and I never mind getting up early, very early. And although the reward this time was pretty slim (keeping money in the kitty for a next visit) I was very content finding this pretty watercolour painting. Here’s the story that followed my research, removing wrinkles and stains and cutting a fresh modern acid free mat.   

Scribbled in pencil on the back: “Kerk te Garnwerd, ter herinnering van  Joh.W.Sterringa 1942”. (The church of Garnwerd, in remembrance from J.W.S).

Johan Willem Sterringa was born in 1920, his brother Herman Evert, who followed in the footsteps of his father, was born two years later. They were the sons of reverend Herman Gerbens Sterringa (1888-1978) and Annigje Jongedijk (they married in 1919, left) who served the community of Garnwerd from 1941-1947. 

The reverend Sterringa had two brothers, Gerhard Antonius, who also was a reverend and an older brother Tjesse, a schoolteacher, poet and Dutch scolar who also had two sons of which Roelof, born in 1909, became a psychiatrist who, what a weird co-incidence, happened to be in the 1960’s our next door neighbor in the city of Amersfoort where we then lived and where I attended High School. A small world !

The picturesque village of Garnwerd, 12 km.NW of Groningen is situated along the tidal Reitdiep, an old and now dead, sea-arm that once connected the mighty city of  Groningen with the North Sea meandering through the wonderful “Hooge Land”. 
Jannes de Vries (1901-1986) Garnwerd

Johan Dijkstra (1896-1978) Garnwerd 
Johan Dijkstra (1896-1978) Garnwerd

The village and the surrounding landscape and it’s famous Hotel Hamming (below) were a great inspiration for the painters of “the Ploeg” (link) a collective of expressionist (mainly) painters established in 1918. The Groningen Museum has their work displayed in a permanent exhibition.

Jan van der Zee (1898-1988) Hotel Hamming in Garnwerd
Sip Hofstede (cont.) Hotel Hamming in Garnwerd

Geurt Busser (1947- ) Garnwerd + het Reitdiep

The rectory, build in 1883, was recently restored and today is in use as a bed and breakfast. The painting, obviously a view from it's garden, probably decorated its walls before, maybe when son Johan Willem left home 1n 1942 ? 

I have no clue what became of J.W. privately or as an artist. The house however would be the perfect place for the painting to return to, so maybe I’ll write to the owners …..or just wait until this posting reaches Garnwerd. It is after all a small world.

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