Jopie Huisman - about
Jopie Huisman - outside

Jopie was all about the value and warmth of human proportions

Jopie was an authentic, vigorous person, both passionate and vulnerable at the same time. He was a unique self-taught artist. He defended the under-dog and people from the so-called seamy side of society. Not just by listening to them and being hospitable, but also by painting them; their rags and their working shoes. With his paintings, Jopie protected a deeply human story from being lost to obscurity.

Jopie understood peoples life and registered it with compassion

Jopie gave the people honour he felt they deserved. His paintings, whether they are about people or about their belongings, are a homage to the simple Frisian rural farm life, the landscape and the culture. The portraits are monuments to simple things.


Jopie’s artwork does not only possess the recognition and acknowledgement of poverty but also a lot of humour. The humour between people who, driven by circumstance, have to rely on one another. For Jopie, humour was the grease and glue of his life. In the stories he wrote, humour is also clearly present. When you read them, you are actually reading behind the scenes of his paintings.


Stone wheelbarrow
mr. Adema's stone wheelbarrow


Jopie’s eye for the absurd, for human proportions and relationships can be found in many of his written or painted caricatures. Recognition was and is above all, a comfort to many visitors as we can see by their reactions.


Jopie was fascinated by daily life which he drank in with great gusto and, as he remarked himself, ‘threw down on canvas’. He poured his soul into his art with great doggedness, perseverance and tenacity. He understood the art of rubbing shoulders with people from all different walks of life like no other.


What makes Jopie Huisman so unique is the fact that he was able to illustrate his philosophy of life with so much vigour and with so much feeling and energy. His works are a combination of philosophy, aesthetics and phenomenal art. His message of compassion is universal and timeless.


Jopie's life [Biography]


18 october 1922

Jotje Huisman is born in Workum as the youngest of seven children. His nickname is Jopie.





Elementary technical school in Sneek. After two years, Jopie acquires his diploma for house painter.




After a number of odd jobs, Jopie becomes a pottery painter at Aurora, an earthenware factory in Workum.





Jopie is arrested and sent to Germany to work for the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany (Wehrmacht). He eventually ends up in a work camp near Kassel.



Jopie manages to escape during a heavy bombing raid. After a long and dangerous journey, he succeeds in reaching Workum. His parents are told that he is missing. Jopie goes into hiding in Workum till the end of the war.



Painting, drawing, fishing and infrequently working at the earthenware factory De Boer in Workum.



Jopie has not felt fit for a number of years. During a health screening, he is diagnosed with tuberculosis and is bedridden for six months.


He marries Eelkje de Boer.



Jopie starts making earthenware finished with cold glaze at home.


Birth of son Pepy.





Jopie’s own earthenware workshop goes bankrupt. On the advice of his brother Lieuwe, he begins a rag and bone business. He is a well-known figure in Workum with his hand cart and transport bike.



Birth of daughter Marretje.



Jopie moves with his family to Franeker to work as a salesman for his brother Lieuwe’s metal wholesale business.





Birth of daughter Grietje.



In Herbayum, Jopie establishes the smallest wholesale business in rag and bones in The Netherlands. He also has his first exhibition in Gallery’ De Blauwe Hand’ in Harlingen.



Birth of son Jacob.



In the Dutch television programme ’Van Gewest tot Gewest’ (From Region to Region), Jopie receives national attention for the first time.





Jopie’s marriage breaks up.



Jopie’s art work obtains a completely different character. The subjects become more profound, his technique more realistic. These are the artworks that make him well-known to the general public.





Jopie marries Ietje Magré.



On July 23, the Foundation of the Jopie Huisman Museum in Workum is established.





On March18, the Circle of Friends (de Vriendenkring) of the Jopie Huisman Museum is established. The first Jopie Huisman Museum is opened on April 11, in the Sleeswijckhuys at the Noard 5 in Workum.





On February 29 the new museum, that is especially built for Jopie’s work, is opened.





On the twenty-ninth of September, Jopie dies at the age of seventy-seven.