Abel Tasman original painting on loan to the Groninger Museum

A few months ago the volunteer Chair of the Abel Tasman Museum in Lutje Gast (Council Grootegast), Mr. Harke Bosma unexpectedly visited the Dutch Heritage Centre in Smithfield and found, somewhat to his surprise, that a replica of the painting of Tasman and his family (1637) was on display. Our centre regularly displays replicas of VOC cartographers’ maps of the Australian coastline from the 17th century to inform visitors, especially those who believe that the first European contact with Australia was in 1770 when Captain Cook sailed into Botany Bay. However, painted portraits of Dutch seafarers are fairly rare. Mr. Bosma, a retired academic, had his camera with him an made a few pictures of his presence at the Centre, the replica itself and the Neerlandia shop where DACC has been located since 2006. 

Separately,  Grootegast Councillors Elly Pastoor and assistant Natasja Lubbers travelled to Canberra with the brief to negotiate a loan of the original painting for the city of Groningen which turned out to be successful. Their request was strongly supported by the Groninger Museum; the Council team was able to convince the National Gallery management that the Groninger Museum was a deserving venue for that purpose. Furthermore Singapore Airlines came to the party as well when they were prepared to sponsor the transport of the painting. The opening of the magnificent exhibition was on 21st June, 2018. The Tasman family painting is displayed in a splendid position and location, on their very home ground!

Tasmania was initially named "Van Diemensland”, by Tasman, after the then Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies, Antonie van Diemen. Part of Tasman’s brief was to see if there was a way, sailing due East with the trade winds, to reach Strait Magellan, discovered by the Portuguese explorer late in the previous century. Instead, he arrived first in Tasmania, after that reached the coasts of the south and north Islands of New Zealand which was so named by him, without realising that these were large islands. The ambitious brief had much to do with the fact that assessments of longitudes were still very imperfect at the time. This continued until the Harrison clock was developed during the next century. Tasman visited Tonga as well but after that returned to base in the Indies. He made a further explorative journey in 1644, starting in the Gulf of Carpentaria earlier visited by Willem Janszoon in the Duyfken in 1606, when mapping 300 kms of the west coast of Cape York. Sailing west from there Tasman made landfall in several coastal areas along the north coast of Australia.

Abel Tasman Painting

The only known portrait of Dutch explorer Abel Tasman has arrived at the Groninger Museum. It was 375 years ago that Tasman, from the Dutch village of Lutjegast, became the first European to ‘discover’ the island that now bears his name: Tasmania. It has always been presumed that Jacob Gerritsz. Cuyp painted this work in 1637, when Tasman was a Dutch East India Company captain who had not yet become famous. Experts in the Netherlands will now try to establish if Cuyp was indeed the painter. The portrait will be on display until January 2019. It has been brought to Groningen with support from the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, the National Library of Australia in Canberra and the municipality of Grootegast. The embassy assisted in bringing these parties together for the handover of the loan request in December 2017.

Abel Tasman Harke & Klaas Abel Tasman Klaas

Mr. Harke Bosma and DACC Secretary Klaas Woldring with the replica of the Tasman family.

Harke Harke & friend

Some pictures of the Dutch Shop in Smithfield know locally as ’t Winkeltje. this is combined with a wholesale warehouse, distributing  Dutch foods and other items throughout Australia. Below also a maquette of the centre of Amsterdam permanently on display at the Dutch Australian Cultural Centre.

T Winkeltje Amsterdam maquette

Below the new Abel Tasman Museum in Lutje Gast close to the city of Groningen. The original painting is exhibited in the Groninger Museum, on loan from the National Gallery, Canberra.

Abel Tasman Museum

Grootegast wil schilderij Abel Tasman uit Australië

Een delegatie uit Grootegast reisde in december naar Australië en Nieuw-Zeeland om de ontdekkingsreis van Abel Tasman te herdenken. Eén van hun missies betreft dit schilderij in Canberra. (Onderstaand artikel is overgenomen uit Dagblad van het Noorden)in de National Library in Canberra.)

Expositie Groninger Museum
Het Groninger Museum wil het kunstwerk juni volgend jaar in Groningen exposeren. Museumdirecteur Andreas Blühm gaf een bruikleenaanvraag mee aan wethouder Elly Pastoor en haar medewerkster Natasja Lubbers.

Zij droegen dezer dagen in het museum in Canberra de aanvraag over. Het schilderij dat dateert uit 1637 is gemaakt door Jacob Gerritsz Cuyp.

Pastoor en Lubbers maken deel uit van een delegatie uit Grootegast die afgelopen donderdag met Singapore Airlines vanaf Eelde vertrok voor een bezoek aan Tasmanië en Nieuw-Zeeland, eilanden die zijn ontdekt door Abel Tasman.

Los van de anderen delegatieleden reisden Pastoor en Lubbers door naar Canberra voor hun bezoek aan de National Library.

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