Kor Onclin


Kor Onclin (1918-2003) ‘A life full of colour.’

Kor Onclin, born in Leeuwarden, grew up in a liberal and artistic background. At elementary school his talent for drawing and music were already apparent. He receives lessons from the predecessor of the Vredeman de Vries Academy in Leeuwarden and comes in contact through his father with artists, like Gerrit Benner, amongst others. Towards the end of the thirties he exposes for the first time in the art shop De Boer in Leeuwarden.

His hometown and the province of Friesland play an important role during the first thirty years of his life. He grows up in the Leeuwarden of the 20’s, his father has a furniture business on Voorstreek and the familiarity of the Jacobin church surroundings, as well as the atmosphere, liveliness and music of the pre-war Jewish community in the Friesian capital city. During the early 40’s Kor Onclin worked at the public coal offices and during the war years was active with the Resistance. Directly after the liberation he played in a semi-professional jazz band for a long time in the Schaaf hall (percussion and singing). Towards the end of his life Kor Onclin returns to his homeland. During the early 90’s there are exhibitions in Elsloo; in 1999 at the Gallery Romein and in 2000 at the Fryske Academie on the occasion of ‘Simmer 2000’ and by invitation of the city council.

At the beginning Kor Onclin made a name for himself with figurative black and white portrait and landschape paintings, but soon developed his own style with its characteristic colour usage and texture. The subject matter in his works he took from whatever crossed his path each day, in the broadest sense. Furthermore, the ‘primitive’ African art and unbiased admiration of children are important sources of inspiration for him. In this respect a certain affinity with the CoBrA movement can clearly be seen.

After the war Onclin continues to paint, but due to his war experiences and major involvement with people he moves to another professional sector.

1948 Departure from Leeuwarden.
1948 – 1960 Remedial education studies and monographs on psychology, philosophy and medicine.
During the 50’s up until 1978 Employed as child welfare officer, rehabilitation and various mental health care establishments. Along with a teaching post at the Sociale Akademie, amongst others, he establishes himself as an independant psychotherapist, beind one of the first in The Netherlands who focuses on family therapy.
The 50’s Frequent residence in Paris; contact with other artists; painters, musicians and writers, in particular the existentialistic movement. Parallel to these professional activities the painter Onclin steps outside every now and then. There are occasional periods in which he exhibits more frequently, like in the late 60’s – early 70’s.
1977 Decides to dedicate himself solely to painting.
The Ardèche years (1978 – 2002)
1978 Termination of psychotherapeutical practices, departure from The Netherlands and permanent residence in southeast France, Privas/Ardèche region.
1981 First French exhibition.
1986 Renewed contact with the Dutch art world; exhibition in the Galerie Vlasblom, Arnhem.
1986 Studio on Rue Bir Hakeim in Privas.
1986 – 2001 One or more yearly exhibitions in The Netherlands where various galleries have permanent works in stock by then. In addition, Kor Onclin exhibits frequently in France; in particular the southern area: Aix-en-Provence, Cannes, Arles, Marseille, Avignon, Privas. On many occasions prizes and honours were assigned to his work:

  • Arles 1983,  Grand Prix International
  • Aix-en-Provence 1983,  1er prix Fantastique
  • Avignon 1984,  Prix Visages du XXieme Siècle (art magazine)
  • Barcelona (Spain) 1984,  1er Prix Abstrait
  • Aix-en-Provence 1984,  Prix la Côte des Arts (art magazine).

Residence in France (Rochessauve/Privas) and  years in the Ardèche were extremely important for Kor Onclin as artist and as person.  Influenced by this new life, the colours of his palette became brighter and deeper and his painting language intenser than it had been. In this new land he finds the quality of life that he had always longed for. The establishment of his Atelier in the centre of Privas, rue Bir Hakeim, clearly indicates a new drive and important zest for painting. In the cultural world of the Ardèche Kor Onclin fulfils an important role: as painter as well as person he is an enourmously appreciated and loved person. Moreover, he is a great inspirator for many fellow painters.

1997 Atelier Rue des Poireaux, Privas.
1998 Monograph ‘Colours of amazement‘, on the occasion of his eightieth birthday.
1999 – 2001 The already famous ‘L’Art dans les Classes’; Kor Onclin’s painting projects at schools in the French Ardèche.
June 2002 Due to illness the workshop in Rue des Poireaux is discontinued.
Autumn 2002 Due to health issues definite return to The Netherlands.
March 2003 Death of Kor Onclin.
November 2003 Homage exhibition Galerie Espace Envol – Privas/Ardèche.
December 2003 Homage exhibition Galerie Vlasblom – Arnhem.
September 2004 Place Kor Onclin; official revelation of the square named after Kor Onclin in the capital of the Ardèche: Privas.
december 2005 Homage exhibition Leeuwarden.
2006 en later Click here for exhibitions from 2006 onwards.