Ruurd Elzer -EN-

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Ruurd Elzer 1915-1995
A Dutch Painter

At the age of 12, Ruurd Elzer (Sneek 1915-1995 Groningen) moved together with his family from Lemmer to ‘t Zandt situated in Northern part of the province of Groningen, after which he went to the HBS (school) in Appingedam.

A correspondence course in drawing during a prolonged period of sicknes which he endured during his adoloscence, was the preparation for the Acedemie Minerva.

Because education on that direction was not offered, Elzers’ interest for the art of painting did not emerge, he decided after ample deliberation to talk to Jan Altink

Jan Altink was prepared to give him private tuition in the craft of painting; then for Elzer there was no more motivation to stay at the Academie Minerva

Admission to the “Kunstkring” (Arts Circle) in 1937, for Elzer meant recognition as an artist, but probably a growing artistic self awareness made him leave this “Kunstkring” in 1939.

He rather joined the Ploeg (Plow) movement. His first attempt to join in 1940 failed . Less than a year after he succeeded, be it as temporary member.

After the war, end of 1945, he was on of the exhibitors presnt on the first Ploeg exhebition and not log after he held his first solo exhibition in the ‘Beerenhuis’ in the Folkingestreet in Groningen.

Portraits and landscapes were subjects to which Elzer prefereed to submit himself.
Within these themes he reached the most convincing results. Yet he thought it to be best to elave Groningen.

A stay in the French capital in 1949 and subsequent travels to France indeed triggered a new artistic impulse.
In 1955, this time as a guest, for the first he participated in the traditional Christmas exhibition of “de Ploeg”, which arts circle he re-joined only in 1958.

In the sixties Elzer regulary reviewed exhibitions in the paper “het Nieuwsblad van het Noorden.”.
He also signed for the introducing catalogue text for a memorial exhibition (1964) organised in Warfum on behalf of his friend and brother in art Riekele Prins.

End of the sixties Elzer moved to creating pure abstract works, in spite of figuration continuing to stay important to him . His close connection with “de Ploeg” lasted about forty years: in 1980 he relented his role as treasurer, during a exhibition in honor of his 65th birthday, which was offered to him by Pictura.

Shortly after this he cancelled his membership of ‘de Ploeg’ .

In December 1995, shortly after he departed, Elzer’s last review exhibition was to viewed in the ‘Centrum voor Beeldende Kunst Groningen’.
(Source of Dutch text: Website of the province of Groningen / Translation Ruurd Visser).

Some paintings by Ruurd Elzer

Construction of sea locks Delfzijl, 1956

(source: provincie/province Groningen)

Together with eleven other painters, amongst which his learning master Jan Altink, Ruurd Elzer painted the construction of the Eems canal and the sea locks near Delfzijl (province of Groningen).

For recording the subject took the same perspective as Altink, but from a higher point of view. Because
Due to this, the work of Elzer offers a wider perspective and more view of the contruction activities.

From a technical point of view the differences between the paintings of both artists are big.
Where Elzer’s work is thin, refined and linear, the works of Altink are pasty, robust and pictural.
The endresult can be read in the texture, the surface qualityof the painting

(Source of Dutch text:Website of the province of Groningen  / Translation:Ruurd Visser)
Een zittend Naakt  / A sitting Nude- 1959


Een stilleven met flessen / A plateau with bottles (1952-1959)


Een zonverlicht berglandschap
A sunlit mountainlandscape




Stilleven met Zonnebloemen en schilders palet
Plateau with Sunflowers and a painters palette


Collage – 1982

Europaweg / Europa road
Ruurd Elzer-Europaweg

Landschap bij Groningen / Landscape near Groningen
Ruurd Elzer-Landschap bij Groningen
(Source: Website

Steenformatie / Stone formation
Ruurd Elzer-Steenformatie

Euvelgrunne bij Groningen / Euvelgrunne near Groningen
Ruurd Elzer-Landschap bij Groningen

Koolzaadveld bij Bedum / Rapeseed field near Bedum
RuurdElzer-Koolzaadveld bij Bedum

Ruurd Elzer-Kustvaart

Eclogiet – 1976
Ruurd Elzer-Eclogiet-1976
(Bron: website ‘Kunsthandel-Peter ter Braak’)

Voorgenomen Huwelijk, 
kaart door H.N. Werkman (1882-1945)
Intended wedding, card by H.N. Werkman (1882-1945)
Ruurd Elzer - Diet Koolman Trouwkaart 1942

To announce the intended marriage between Diet Koolman and Ruurd Elzer on March 6th 1942, H.N. Werkman made this card , on which he combined the text with three template prints in yellow, red and blue.