Constant Nieuwenhuys-Portret van mijn grootvader, 1938
Tom Haartsen
Grootvader Cornelissen

Portret van mijn grootvader

x 38,0cm
Private collection, NL

Constants grandfather on his mother's side was a tailor. Constant wore a purple suit made by his grandfather when he met Gerrit Kouwenaar on the Magere brug (Skinny Bridge) on a summer day in Amsterdam in 1942. Gerrit Kouwenaar later described this first meeting in the opening speech of an exhibition of Constant in Galerie Le Canard, 26 Januari 1952, with the following words:

I believe I met him for the first time on the “Skinny Bridge”: it was lovely summer weather and there were Schnellboote (German Navy torpedo boat) on the Amstel. Constant wore his hair fairly long and had a melancholy moustache. He was wearing a curious purplish suit that was too big for him, and big high-top shoes on his bare feet, like some of the gents in prints by Dubout. I admired him at once. In those days he lived in the Pijp district and he smoked a little red clay pipe with a grinning devil’s face on the head...