Rien Poortvliet

Armand Cabrera

I have been planning to do a post on Poortvliet for some time when I found this video in English on YouTube put up by Erik Fernström  its about 20 minutes

He is most famous for his book of Gnomes but had many other books including Journey to the Ice Age, Noah’s Ark, The Living Forest and He Was One of Us. He was the first artist I ever came across that produced books that seemed to be based on sketches loosely built around a theme. They were very organic, and looked to be created the way one would create a personal sketchbook.

While there have been many artists who have produced books of sketches or drawing going back to the beginning of representational art, those books always seemed planned and very formal to me. His books are a marvel, filled with hundreds of drawings and watercolor or oil vignettes stuck all over the pages. Each book also has full page finished paintings every few pages to anchor the rest of the work.  Usually the accompanying text is in script.

I don’t have any biographical information from any of his English language books that I own but Wikipedia has some information here

If you are not familiar with his work I suggest picking up one of his books, The Farm Book, My Grandfather’s House or Dutch Treat are a good place to start. All of his books show a joy of drawing and painting.


The Living Forest

He Was One of Us

The Farm Book

 Co-authored with Wil Huygen


Dutch Treat

Secrets of the Gnomes

Noah’s Ark

In My Grandfather’s House

The Book of the Sandman

Daily Life in Holland in the Year 1566


Journey to the Ice Age