The Van Abbemuseum Collection consists of over 2800 artworks. We publish texts and images on an ongoing basis, but this record is currently in the process of being documented.
Born in 1887, the artist Sal Meijer painted many city views, especially of his native city of Amsterdam. Here he very meticulously portrays the "Torensluis", one of the capital’s widest 17th century bridges, on which a tower used to stand. There was also a kiosk there, as Meijer shows in this painting. The kiosk disappeared from the bridge between 1920 and 1923. There are five known paintings by Meijer featuring the "Torensluis". On one of them, probably the oldest, the kiosk is missing. In the other versions, including one dated 1937, Meijer is likely to have added it for the sake of nostalgia. If we compare the various versions of the "Torensluis" with each other, we notice that there are more details that couldn’t possibly match up with reality. Although the bridge is always painted from the same angle, some of the canal houses differ from version to version. The facades are different and the number of windows varies. A comparison with recent photographs also makes it clear that despite being inspired by reality, Meijer took the liberty of composing his own romanticized versions of the location.
Owing to his meticulous and detailed approach, where every brick or roof tile can be counted, Meijer’s work is often regarded as naive art. However, Meijer was proud that he had undergone professional training (e.g. Primary School Art Teaching Certificate) and was a member of various artists’ associations. Having grown up with parents who worked in the diamond industry, he followed in their footsteps until about 1916, at which point he switched to being a fulltime artist. He had his own ideas about selling methods, produced etchings at low prices and was no fan of artistic pretensions.
Does this page contain inaccurate information or language that you feel we should improve or change? We would like to hear from you.