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Mark Lijftogt
 

MARK LIJFTOGT

www.marklijftogt.com

Mark Lijftogt, (1963) still life painter, was born in Amsterdam, where he lived and worked until some years ago when he moved to the countryside. Lijftogt grew up in a small village just outside the city of Amsterdam, were he began drawing at an early age. Although these first works were cartoon-like, his choice of an artistic career had already been set. After secondary school and without any formal training, he started working as a dental technician. Through a friend he met a well known Dutch sculptor and restorer, Hans 't Mannetje, who ran a restoration studio located in an old synagogue in the centre of Amsterdam opposite the Rembrandt House. At 't Mannetje's studio Lijftogt worked among skilled craftsman from different disciplines, such as woodcarvers, sculptors, carpenters, painters, and restorers. In this very classical atmosphere his interest in painting became serious as he learned first-hand from those around him, who had spent their working lives analyzing the physical aspects of paints, panels, and canvas etc.

These individuals had helped Lijftogt understand the technical nature of his materials and were especially helpful in showing him the fine points of canvas and panel preparation and the treatment of a painting's surface, elements so important in achieving the beautiful smoothness of Lijftogt's works. He had soon converted his home into a studio, and was making daily visits to the Rijksmuseum to study the old masters. Inspired by the great art of the rich Dutch past he began painting with oils, still his favourite medium. During this time he had met the late Mr. Kuyper, Chief Restorer at the Rijksmuseum and his assistant Martin Bijl, who helped him with technical matters. Thus the art of the past was the primary training ground for his beautifully worked canvases and panels.

The early still life'ss from the 17th century, which are especially famous because of there modest use of colour and their balanced composition, formed an important inspiration for Lijftogt present work. The still lives of Lijftogt are not as monochrome as the work of his 17th century predecessors. He is making use of bright colours and simple compositions; in witch lucidity is an important element.

During these years of his 'apprenticeship', Lijftogt survived by undertaking commercial work. He was employed as a decorative painter, engaged in such diverse activities as marble imitation, air brushing, and painting restoration. Through this work he met an important diamond dealer who was enthusiastic and offered him an exhibition, which was very successful. Other exhibitions followed in Europe, and his work is in collections The Netherlands, England, Italy, Canada, the United States, Germany, Norway, etc

Source: Mark Lijftogt



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