Piet Clijnk, life and work

Piet painting

biography method his work publicity contact



Why would someone start such a search? For many years it was a fact: my grandfather was a painter. A number of his works hung on the walls at my parent’s house, but that was all.
In Spring 2012 The Molenmuseum (Mill Museum) in Koog aan de Zaan (The Netherlands) held an exhibition of stored paintings. One of those paintings was painted by my grandfather. I went to the exhibition and took a photo of the painting. It was an oil painting of a windmill: ‘De Zoeker’, painted in 1942. After my visit a conversation with my father triggered my interest in my grandfather’s life and work.

De Zoeker windmill 1942

My father, Hugo Clijnk, is the only child of my grandparents. I am the only child of my parents. My grandparents are deceased. As my father is the only person left who can provide information about his childhood and his parents, my search started by interviewing him.

Having firstly collected information on my grandfather’s life, I then needed to see his paintings.

My father knew some people who had some of my grandfather’s paintings in their possession. I started visiting those people. An advertisement on the ‘Marktplaats’ (E-Bay) website led to reactions from people who owned some paintings. Furthermore, a request on Facebook from the Clijnk family group also yielded more paintings.
Following a very pleasant interview in a local newspaper, I was able to track down some 100 paintings. (At this stage I have found 200 paintings, most of which I have seen and photographed). 

All reactions have been heartwarming. The number of people that have reacted and have spoken so warmly about my grandfather and his work is overwhelming. As my grandfather died when I was only 6 years old, I only knew him for a short while. My memories of him are therefore limited. Through my search, I have learned so much more about him and his work and my admiration for him has grown and grown. He didn’t follow an education at an art academy, but was a self-educated man. Furthermore it shows courage to start your own business during the depression of the 1930s. His success at earning a living by painting and framing paintings is remarkable.

I was touched by the warm welcome I received at peoples’ homes. The effort all these people made to contact me and the fact that my father and I were presented with 8 of my grandfather’s paintings is just remarkable. All generous donors felt the paintings should be in the possession of Piet Clijnk’s own family. 

During my search I discovered that my grandfather’s paintings not only adorn Dutch walls, but also walls in houses in England, Australia and Portugal. Many works have been moved as part of an inheritance. 

My search is endless. My grandfather has painted so many paintings; I have only seen and taken photographs of a few of them. 

I have created this website for everyone with an interest in my grandfather’s life and work. I also hope that this website will result in finding more paintings. 

Furthermore I want to point out the following: most of the photographs on this website can be viewed as a small picture. Clicking on these pictures will enlarge them to allow a better view of the painting. 

I hope and wish that every visitor to this website will enjoy the works of my grandfather as much as I have done and still do.