Tunis Ponsen (1891 - 1968)
Tunis Ponsen was born in 1891 in the Netherlands. He emigrated to the United States in 1913 and first settled in Muskegon, Michigan where, at age 30, he had his first solo exhibitions. Ponsen's success as a traditional painter strengthened in 1924 when he relocated to Chicago, where he painted until he slipped on the winter ice and complications from surgery resulted in his death in 1968.
Between 1924 when Ponsen entered the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and 1938, Ponsen's work was included in 34 important museum exhibitions. Critics regularly praised his work which found strong following at the Detroit Institute of Art, Toledo Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Flint Institute of Arts, Muskegon Museum of Art, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, among others.
From the 1920s to 1967 Tunis Ponsen's paintings and watercolors were included in hundreds of exhibitions and he won many awards and prizes. Although he exhibited widely and sold many paintings during his lifetime, at the time of his death in 1968 his niece, Angenita Morris, discovered and inherited more than 1,000 paintings and watercolors from Ponsen's studio. Those oil paintings, a few acrylics, and an unexpected collection of woodblock prints and black and white lithographs have now been inherited by the children of Angenita Morris.
Ponsen painted until his death in 1968. He settled in Chicago as a landscape painter and was a member of the Chicago Painters and Sculptors, Chicago Gallery Association, and the Chicago Society of Artists. While Ponsen's works are mostly associated with the impressionistic school, his careful use of bold color and sweeping brushstrokes are often reminiscent of another prestigious Dutch artist, Vincent Van Gogh. Tunis Ponsen is best known for his use of urban scenes, country landscapes, and harbor scenes.