Lizzy Ansingh Biography

(Was a Dutch Painter)

Birthday: March 13, 1875 (Pisces)

Born In: Utrecht, Netherlands

Lizzy Ansingh was a Dutch painter, best known for her works influenced by the Amsterdam Impressionist movement in the early 20th century. With a rich family history in art, Lizzy became interested in pursuing the field. Her aunt, Therese Schwartze, was a popular portrait painter and Lizzy lived with her for the first 16 years of her life. Lizzy’s religious family background had her creating paintings on biblical themes at first. At the age of 19, Lizzy attended an art academy and further honed her skills. She began painting portraits and dolls by the time she graduated from the academy. She eventually pursued a full-time career in painting and formed a group in Amsterdam called Amsterdamse Joffers, which was a group of like-minded upper-class Dutch female painters meeting and sharing their works and supporting each other. It became a major movement in Amsterdam and opened ways for many female painters to pursue art as a full-time profession. Apart from painting, Lizzy also wrote poems, short fiction and travel sketches. She also wrote two children’s books. As a portrait painter, Lizzy is highly revered in Dutch artistic circles as one of the pioneers of the Amsterdam Impressionist movement.

Quick Facts

Also Known As: Maria Elisabeth Georgina Ansingh

Died At Age: 84


father: Edzard Willem Ansingh

mother: Clara Theresia Schwartze

Born Country: Netherlands

Artists Dutch Women

Died on: December 14, 1959

place of death: Amsterdam, Netherlands

City: Utrecht, Netherlands

More Facts

education: Royal Academy of Visual Arts

Childhood & Early Life

Lizzy Ansingh was born Maria Elisabeth Georgina Ansingh, on March 13, 1875, in Utrecht, Netherlands. She was born to Edzard Willem Ansingh and Clara Theresia Schwartze. Her father worked as a pharmacist. While her direct family was not fully involved in artistic pursuits, she had a rich family history in the field. Her mother was a lesser-known painter while her grandfather, Johann Georg Schwartze, was a well-known painter. Furthermore, her aunt Thérèse Schwartze was also a popular portrait painter.

Lizzy, naturally, was inclined towards artistic pursuits since she was a kid. For many years during her childhood, Lizzy lived with her aunt. This further contributed to the development of an aesthetic sense in Lizzy. She also received her first lessons in art from her aunt Therese. Both of them also visited multiple museums and art exhibitions together, which further helped Lizzy gain a perspective on art.

French impressionism was the rage around that time and Therese introduced Lizzy to all sorts of impressionist painters. She also saw inherent creativity in Lizzy and encouraged her to pursue a full-time career in art. Through her aunt, she was introduced to painters such as George Hendrik Breitner, Piet Mondriaan and Simon Maris, which later turned out to be major influences on her artistic style.

Lizzy grew up with a younger sister named Therese, who also went on to become a popular painter. In order to further hone her skills as an artist and receive professional training, Lizzy enrolled at the Amsterdam Royal Academy of Visual Arts. At the Academy, she had teachers such as August Allebé, Nicolaas van der Waay and Carel Dake. This guidance helped her develop her technical skill-set.

At the Academy, she also studied human anatomy by analyzing Greek and Roman statues. In 1897, she left the academy and set out to forge a career as a portrait artist. She further formed a good friendship with multiple female painters such as Coba Ritsema, Marie van Regteren Altena, Ans van den Berg, Nelly Bodenheim, Jacoba Surie, Jo Bauer-Stumpff and Betsy Westendorp-Osieck. They formed a group together, which later inspired generations of female painters.

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Some of the early amateur paintings that she made were made before she enrolled on the art school. Since she belonged to a strongly religious family, she mostly drew angels and demons and painted other theological and biblical themes.

After leaving the academy, Lizzy began working and drawing portraits. She began with small portraits, tropical birds, dolls and still life. One of the first portraits she made was that of her mother. Made in 1899, it became one of her most popular portraits.

Other than portraits, Lizzy was also known for painting dolls. She gained celebrity status painting dolls and was further encouraged by her aunt Therese to keep doing it. She purchased a dollhouse which she decorated with multiple articles she had collected over the years. In the dollhouse, she also arranged her dolls for inspiration.

She had a studio in Herengracht, Amsterdam, which was later destroyed badly in the British bombings during the Second World War. The bombings also ruined her dollhouse. However, her dollhouse was later restored and can be seen at the Museum Arnhem, located in Arnhem, Netherlands.

As for her portraits, some of her most popular portraits are The Precious Chair, In the Flower Garden, A Still life with Oriental Slippers, Little Girl with a Birdcage and Elegant Lady. Her portraits primarily featured upper-class women. One of her most popular paintings was titled Seven Deadly Sins, which is still hailed as a classic example of expressionism.

Lizzy herself belonged to a group of upper-class female painters named Amsterdam Joffers. She had moved out of her aunt’s place at the age of 16, but they remained in close contact with each other. Therese’s Portrait of Lizzy Ansingh remains one of her most revered works. In response, Lizzy painted The Funeral in memory of her aunt, when she passed away in 1918.

Towards the end of her life, she also collaborated with an esteemed illustrator named Nelly Bodenhein and got a booklet of illustrations published. She also wrote verses with her illustrations.

The participants of Joffers met on a weekly basis to meet and paint together. All the women were influenced by the Amsterdam Impressionist movement and were members of artistic societies such as Arti et Amicitiae and Sint Lucas. As the guild system had almost collapsed in the early 20th century, the group also provided financial support for aspiring artists.

It was also the time when the women painters, especially those from the upper-class families, were not really appreciated for adopting painting as a full-time vocation. However, first her aunt Therese, later Lizzy also, along with the Amsterdam Joffers fought for the rights of women painters.

Aside from painting portraits, Lizzy was also an aspiring writer. Throughout her writing career, she only wrote two books, Aunt Tor has her Birthday and A Little Fruit Basket. Aside from writing books, Lizzy also did a little poetry. In the mid-1950s, her poems were published in the literary magazine named Maatstaf. In addition, she also got around to writing some travel sketches and published Art treasures from the Prado.

Lizzy also participated in the art competition of the 1928 Summer Olympics.

Personal Life & Death

Lizzy Ansingh remained unmarried all her life.

She passed away on December 14, 1959, in Amsterdam.

See the events in life of Lizzy Ansingh in Chronological Order

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