Eelke Jelles Eelkema

The painter Eelke Jelles Eelkema,1788-1839

The life of Eelke Jelles Eelkema

Eelke was born in Leeuwarden on July 8, 1788. At the age of 7, Eelke contracted an illness that made him deaf and he was sent to the Deaf and blind Institute in Groningen at the age of 11. Eelke stayed here until his 19th birthday. He received drawing lessons from G. de Stan and painting lessons from J.N. Schoonbeek. He became an artist, draughtsman, restorer and drawing teacher.

On his 16th year, 1804, Eelke won the first prize of the Academy Minerva. His work was highly praised. Eelke himself thaught painting and drawing at the Franeker Atheneum, including Cornelis Bernardus Buijs (who in turn taught Jozef Israels) and Taco Mesdag, Henry Willem Mesdag’s older brother.

In 1816 Eelke left with a royal subsidy for Paris, from where Eelke started a hike to Auvergne, Martigny in Switzerland and Turin in Italy in 1818. Eelke also went to London, Haarlem and Amsterdam to study.

After Eelke also became blind in 1835 he stopped painting, Eelke died on November 17 1839 in Leeuwarden. He is never married.

The work of Eelke Jelles Eelkema

Eelke painted landscapes and still lifes of flowers and fruit. In 1830 Eelke published a booklet by Mansion in French. This booklet is called ‘Thorough teaching of sketching and painting, especially in miniature works for the benefit of young artists’.

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