Jaski Art Gallery

Jan Montyn
(Oudewater, 1924)

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Jan Montyn

Jan Montyn is a well known visual artist at home and abroad. Thousands of his pictures have been bought by private collectors and museums in France, Germany, the United States, Thailand, Japan and the Netherlands.

In this country his work has been incorporated in the collections of among others the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the Museum Boymans-van Beuningen in Rotterdam and the Civil Government Service for the Visual Arts in the Hague.

Jan Montyn is a self-educated man. Although he became particularly well known as a graphic artist he also has drawn and painted a great deal. In 1959 he decided to focus mainly on the etching technique because he thought etching was the best medium for him to express himself. Drawings and sketches are important to Montyn. His sketchbooks can be compared with diary notes; the etchings sometimes form an assimilation and a review of them.

From a style point of view Montyn’s work cannot be categorised under a specific trend or school of art. At first he worked in a very traditional and figurative way but at the beginning of the sixties he opted for a stylised, often abstract figure language full of personal signs and symbols. He does not exclusively use graphics as a duplicating technique, but as a medium to arrive at a personal style with a personal idiom. His first experiments in the etching technique were carried out without the use of colour, but gradually colour become an essential part of his work. Colour, shape, line and content were fused together in a monumental way into an abstract figure language.

Montyn works with zinc plates in mixed etching techniques like a dry point, aquatint and taille-douce. Self-invented is his method of printing several zinc plates on one large plate. Montyn always prints his pictures himself, in small numbers. The main theme of his work is landscapes, not as a pictorial item but as a projection of human emotion. Jan Montyn veritably meditates on landscapes. His connection with landscapes and the earth is evident in his preference of the umber colour which to him symbolises the earth and everything that is connected with it.

Far away journeys, particularly to South-East Asia, are a great source of inspiration for his work. In the south of France, Thailand and the Netherlands he has more or less fixed abodes.