H.N. Werkman. A biography in dates  

1908
Werkman starts a printing business in Groningen at the address Peperstraat 5.
 
1909
Werkman and Jans Cremer wed on April 10th.
 
1910
He prints Museum voor Plastische Verzen (Museum of Expressive Verse), a collection of poems by his brother Martinus.
 
1911
His daughter Grieta Sophia is born on February 19th.

1912

The printing business moves to a large new building at Pelsterstraat 31-33. Werkman ultimately employs over 20 staff. One of his employees is Wieberen Bos (1897-1972), who remains in Werkman’s employ until 1945 and then takes over the business when Werkman dies.
On June 20th a son, Hendrik Nicolaas, is born.
 
The interior of Werkman’s print shop in the Peperstraat. Some of the posters probably date from 1910.

 


Publicity: a page from a calendar.

 
1915
Daughter Sophia Gerharda (Fie) is born October 28th.

1915-1918

Werkman prints The Camp Magazine for internee English troops.
 
1917
On April 2nd Jans Werkman-Cremer suddenly dies of a brain haemorrhage.
In the same year Werkman meets schoolteacher Pieternella Johanna Margaretha (Nell) Supheert (1888-1979), a reverend’s daughter.
Werkmans earliest surviving painting, a landscape entitled Morgen in de herfst (Autumn Morning) (private collection), dates from this year.
 
1918
Werkman marries Nell Supheert May 8th.
 
1919
Werkman, like his elder brother Piet, joins the Groninger artists’ association ‘De Ploeg’, which had been established the year before. In future he often exhibits in ‘De Ploeg’ shows and does nearly all the association’s printing.
 
 

 

 

 Werkman in the Pelsterstraat print shop, about 1920-1921.
1920
Fie recalls from her youth: ‘Those days my father often went to Amsterdam on business.’
At this year’s ‘De Ploeg’ exhibition, held at Pictura Gallery in March, he enters the painting Kerkgang (Going to church) (Groninger Museum). He produces a poster for a lecture on the meaning of modern art ‘De Ploeg’ invites art critic Just Havelaar to give.
Werkman publishes Noordelijk Sportblad (Northern Sports Magazine) and De Landbouwpost (Agricultural Mail), yet neither weekly is financially successful.
 
1921
In March Werkman exhibits the paintings Het station (The Station) (H.N. Werkman Foundation (on loan to the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam)) and Sneeuwschepper (Snow shoveller) (private collection).
At the end of March Jan Wiegers returns from Davos, where he had been convalescing for a year, thanks to financial contributions made by other ‘De Ploeg’ members, Werkman among them. He instils Werkman with his enthusiasm for Kirchner.
On April 7th a second son is born: Casper Klaas Johannes Vincent.
Werkman publishes Blad voor Kunst (Art Magazine), six issues of which appear between October 1921 and March 1922. Several other ‘De Ploeg’ members collaborate on the magazine.
 
1922
Werkman designs the cover for the last issue of Blad voor Kunst (March). The abstract composition in yellow, red and blue is inspired by a visit to a Vilmos Huszár, Theo van Doesburg and Bart van der Leck exhibition, held in February and March in Pictura Gallery. Werkman acquires the hand press he later uses to make his prints.
The building in the Pelsterstraat has to be sold, due to the financial straits the printing business is in. Werkman establishes himself in a warehouse, at the address Lage der A 13.