In this book I intend to give an impression of the life of the Dutch artist Nora Francina Stroink (1897-1978). A many talented woman with a keen intellect and a refined heart.
Nora Stroink had a natural talent for colour- combination and composition. During the period of 1952 – 1980 her work was very well known in the Netherlands. Nora painted more than 600 works in oil. She also made woodcuts, etchings, many drawings and watercolours. Her colourful landscapes and portrets were exhibited – and most often sold – in more than thirty solo-exhibitions and some group-exhibitions in the Netherlands and abroad. As a result her work is found in private collections all over the Netherlands, in many European countries and in the United States of America. Her work is also found in museums and other public buildings.
Nora studied at the Royal Academy of Art, in The Hague. She made a big breakthrough in expression when she was given the opportunity to work in the sunny south of France. There she discovered a wonderful quality of light and attempted to express this in her paintings. There was however no school for colourists, so she had to teach herself this technique. This she did with an enormous passion and drive.
She painted both outdoors and in studios in many countries including Scandinavia, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Israël. She fell in love with the Isle of Corsica to which she often returned, to capture the light and colours in her landscapes and portraits. Her oeuvre also includes hundreds of society portraits, often painted on assignment in the Netherlands in her studio at home.
Nora had another exceptional talent which emerged from her natural love and insight into human beings. In her company people felt at ease and her attention made it possible for them to evolve, to grow and to enjoy. This gift of Nora’s enabled her to have a special interaction not only with people she portraited, but also with those she met in the clinic where she helped as creativity and music therapist. She travelled extensively during her rich and turbulent life; sang in a well known choir for a number of years and was a professional violinist in the famous Dutch Chamber Orchestra. With her husband dr. Job Steggewentz she spent four years in Dutch-East-India (Sumatra) where he worked for the BPM in Platjoe.
Nora was my foster-mother and I spent many years with her. During this period she shared many stories about the extraordinary turns her life had taken. Twenty- seven years after her death in 1978, I became fascinated by Nora’s artistic abilities and although I have never studied Art History, I started to write about her life. In writing this book, I have had the fortune to have access to her archives which include hundreds of photographs, poems, articles, notebooks and letters in which she recalls her painting trips to foreign countries. I also found information in various other archives and in many newspaper articles about her exhibitions. Her work has always been recognised for its exceptional radiance.
I did my best to trace Nora’s paintings. I also tried to speak to as many people as possible, who had known her.
I hope that with this book I can bring across the love for people and the love of beauty that characterised Nora throughout her life.