It is a painting that draws many visitors back to the museum: Liesje's birthday by Jan Sluijters. Perhaps because the colourful canvas, depicting a young girl with her doll, holds a certain nostalgic allure.
From 1914 onwards, Sluijters left his wild, experimental years behind him, and shifted his focus to painting portraits. Most of these he painted on commission – earning him the image of a high society painter – but he also liked taking inspiration from his immediate surroundings. Family members were keen to have him paint them. "The whole world for my inspiration is right here, within a twenty-five metre radius", he himself declared. "I don't travel. Here, I find everything that I paint: my wife, my children, this furniture, a few vases and tankards, the flowers, even these cacti, and now and then a model."
He also liked painting his daughter Lies, this painting of her birthday in 1929 being one example. Lies remained at home with her parents for a long time, which may well explain why her father did more portraits of her than of all the other children. Her characteristic glance never changes, even in later portraits. Incidentally, Lies herself had a talent for drawing and painting, and trained at the Rijksacademie.
|Oil on canvas
|132 x 115 cm