“Jan Bolink. You mean the son of the violin builder?
– No, I mean the violin builder himself.
But you were talking about a painter?
– It’s the same person. Jan is both painter and violin builder.
But I thought that the father was a painter. That must have been the father. He painted wonderful watercolours of the landscape in Twente, long before the war.
– That’s right. His father, Bert Henri Bolink, was a well-known painter in Enschede, and also an amateur violin builder.
This sort of conversation was not uncommon when I told people that I was busy with a book about Jan Bolink
The fact that his son, Jaap, was already a well-known violin builder in Hilversum and that the other son, Frank, had already, for some time, been exhibiting his furniture designs in the shop/workshop on the Wilhelminastraat where previously violins could be viewed, just complicated the matter even more.
The name Bolink is impossible to erase from the Academy of Art in Enschede. Jan taught there and was also assistant director of the institute between 1952-1975. Frank has been teaching there since 1967. Jan’s daughters all studied there, and the grandchildren are also following in his footsteps, the oldest of whom has just completed his studies there.
Jan Bolink (1913-1998) was a central and stimulating factor in the art scene of Enschede, which had undergone an enormous transformation in the last hundred years. Whereas father Bolink had been a lonely figure in a very provincial town Jan was usually able to find other like-minded artists to surround himself with. Thanks, amongst others, to these groups of artists, the art scene in Enschede started to come to life, and it was able to shed its provincialism and open itself up to the larger world and develop with newfound freedom.
Violin builder, orchestral player, teacher, organiser and centre point of the Enschede’s art scene. Between all these activities Jan, the painter, still managed to find the chance to create a substantial body of very personal works.
from “Jan Bolink – kunstenaar in het hart van de stad” by Peggie Breitbarth