Johan Dijkstra (1896-1978) is a true Grunninger, to use the colloquial term. He was born and raised in Groningen, he was educated there at the Royal Academy of Decorative Arts, and the moral and code of the region were embedded in his very being. He left the city for a short while, whilst trying his luck in Amsterdam. He returned shortly after.
Dijkstra grew up in an artistic environment; his father was a decorative painter. And with his father’s art kit in close reach, Dijkstra starts painting at a very young age.

As a co-founder of the artist movement De Ploeg, a collective of musicians, authors and painters that first saw the light of day in 1918, he is at the front of the Groningen art scene. At first, Dijkstra lets himself be inspired by the work of Van Gogh, style-wise as well as subject-wise. Lateron, his peers from De Ploeg, prove quite influential. One of his fellow-Ploeg members, Jan Wiegers, becomes closely acquainted with Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, a German expressionist. This leaves a definitive mark on De Ploeg as a movement, and on Johan Dijkstra as an individual artist. He develops his signature expressionist style. In the seventies, he joins in De Ploeg-expositions.

Johan Dijkstra is a lover of ‘ plein air’-painting. He takes his paintbox and easel into the rough rural surroundings, to paint landscapes and typical Groningen villages. Dijkstra feels that the beauty lies in the simplicity of everyday life. The painting currently on display at our gallery, The inland harbour at Zoutkamp shows exactly that. The painting is almost loud, the cumuli clouds dominate the skies and the wind is giving the foliage quite the whipping. And yet, there is the serene calm of the country life. Four men are sitting in the grass, looking out over the water, probably chatting away. A fifth is sitting nearby, in a wheel chair perhaps? They are watching two men in a  boat, going about their business. Despite the forces of nature, and despite everyday life taking its course, this painting shows the craftmanship of Dijkstra: his ability to stop the hands of time.

We buy and sell works by Johan Dijkstra and other Groninger Ploeg-painters. For further information, please contact us via