About the life and work of Piet Zonneveld (1908-1983)
Piet Zonneveld was born in 1908 in Schiedam, a place near by the city of Rotterdam, as the younger brother of Arie (1905-1941, dutch artist) and died in 1983 in the city of the Hague, where he had lived and worked the greatest part of his live.
As a young man he took art and painting lessons from his brother Arie.
In the of summer 1924, at the age of fifteen almost sixteen, Piet wrote 'The Song of The Moha'.
A story about a weeks holiday in the life of Arie, their friend Jan (van der Berkeboom) and Piet.
The Moha No.1 is a camping cooking device on gasoline, it makes a soft singing sound when it is burning.
The story was illustrated by Arie and made into a very nice booklet (handwritten).
Until the mid-fifties Piet produced many aquarelles (landscapes, lake-and riversides, dunes).
Much of his work was to be found in private homes and government buildings.
To get his work sold, he often visited the places along the coast. By his own sayings he did a rather good job during the mid-thirties. When his wife was pregnant of their son Ruud in the year 1937, and she needed to go away for the weekend to get some rest, he could easily afford this by selling only one piece of his work.
For as far as it is known, Piet had only made two oil-paintings, from which only one is known to be left.
Piet had not made the art to be his professional occupation. In 1930 he applied for a function in the workings of the Zuider Zee, where he got an appointment as extraordinary clerk of the works which he fulfilled until 1933.
For a long period of time Piet had been working at the cartography division of the State Department of Buildings and Roads in Delft.
In his spare time he played the violin for many years in the Labourers Symphony Orchestra of the Hague (H.A.S.O.). He also was a member of the board of this orchestra, probably in the function of secretary.
During the occupation of the Netherlands, during the Second World War, he would have been working for the resistance movement. He made good use of the quality of his craftsmanship to forge identitypapers for the underground.
Ruud, the eldest son, has a vivid memory of his father, busy doing this in front of the window, where the intensity of the light was at its best and people could see him.
After the war Piet had worked for the National Office for Post Telegraphy and Telephony and for the Governmental Institute of Buildings.
When he retired he had achieved the function of refendary. When I asked him once what he did for a living, he said well what shall I say: " I am a kind of a big shot". What he did exactly, I still don't know.
Piet seems to have been a proud man of social and artistic ambition. He made it a point of honour to do a fine job. When he was done and satisfied, he spoke the well-known sayings, "so, I'm still the man".
For his holidays he loved to travel to Italy. In his lifetime he visited this country many times. Besides he still took pleasure in camping in the surroundings of Loenen, a countryside in the central part of the Netherlands. The place of which he had written in 'The Song of The Moha', when he was only fifteen, nearly sixteen years old.
12 januari 2009
Editing - translation: Lilian Aeckerlin
Research - text - translation: (AELZET) Lex zonneveld