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JAN TOOROP (British/Dutch/Javanese, 1858-1928)

Jan Toorop (1858-1928) was born in Purworedjo, Java to a British mother and Dutch/Javanese father. At the age of five he moved to Banka, a small island southeast of Sumatra, and then to the Leiden in 1869. He studied as a teenager at the State Academy in Amsterdam, and then between 1882 and 1886 he lived in Brussels. There, he became connected with an avant-garde group of artists connected to James Ensor. After experimenting with a number of modernist styles, he eventually developed a unique, personal symbolist style which often included Javanese elements.

In 1900 he had a successful exhibition in Vienna at the Secession Gallery.

In 1905 Toorop converted to Catholicism, and took an interest in the mysteries of Rosicrucianism, an esoteric order.

In the later part of his career he created works inspired by the Pointillist style of Georges Seurat and also Art Nouveau. From 1920 onward Toorop was confined to a wheelchair, due to the paralysis of his left leg, devoting himself to drawings and graphics with Catholic Themes. He died on March 3, 1928 in The Hague, Netherlands.

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