You are on page 1of 3

Joanna Koerten


Portrait of Joanna Koerten by Jacobus Houbraken, after a painting by David van der Plaas

Joanna Koerten, (married name Joanna Block) (born 17 November 1650, Amsterdam died 28 December 1715, Amsterdam) was a Dutch artist who excelled in painting,
drawing, embroidery, glass etching, and wax modeling. She achieved fame as
a silhouette cutter, the art of creating outline images from pieces of cut paper mounted on
a contrasting background. She produced landscapes, seascapes, flowers, portraits, and
religious scenes in this medium. Her clients included Peter the Great of Russia, Frederick
Elector of Brandenburg, Johan de Witt and William III of England.[1][2][3]




4External links


She was the daughter of Jan Koerten (16221651), a Baptist cloth merchant, and his wife
Ytje Cardinaels (d. before October 25, 1691). Her father died when she was one year old.
Her mother remarried Rosijn Zacharias in 1659, also a cloth merchant. Joanna only
married in 1691 after her mother and stepfather had died, when she was 41 years old.
Her husband was Adrian Block, who, just like her father and stepfather, was a cloth
merchant. He was of Mennonite background.[2] They had no children.
From a young age she sat apart from other children and showed an interest in depicting
what she saw around her, things both animate and inanimate. [4]
She gained fame as an artist working out of her husband's shop at No. 137 Nieuwendijk
Amsterdam, which served as a gallery of her work. Peter the Great honored her with a
visit in 1697 in the company of Mayor Witsen.[2][5]According to Houbraken, she could carve
scenes on glass with a diamond, embroider and weave silk creations, pouring wax
creations, lace-making and watercolor painting.[6]
According to the RKD, she was known as a knipkunstenaar or papercut artist
and draughts(wo)man.[7] Joanna Koerten died on 28 December 1715 aged 65, and is
buried in the Oudezijds Chapel, Amsterdam.[2]
After her death her gallery continued as a place of interest to artists and a visitors book
kept by her surviving husband shows the names of many notable artist and poet visitors,
both during her lifetime and beyond. Among them are artists Gerard de
Lairesse, Melchior Hondecoeter and Nicholas Verkolje; calligraphers Jacob Gadelle,
and Mary Strick; and poets David van Hoogstraten (nl), John Brandt, Gesine
Brit and Katharina Lescailje.[2]

Only fifteen of her works survive. The existence of others can be inferred from
descriptions in old auction lists.[2]
For a description of her oeuvre see: Catalogus van een overheerlijk konstkabinet papiere
snykonst, door wylen Mejuffrouw Koerten, huisvrouw van wylen Adriaan Blok, met de
schaar in papier gesneden (Amsterdam ca.1750).
Examples of her work can be seen in the Stedelijk Museum De Lakenhal (Leiden), in
the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (The Hague), in Kasteel-Museum Sypesteyn (nl) (Loosdrecht)
and in Westfries Museum (Hoorn).[2]


Jump up^ Joanna Koerton at the Dinner Party database of notable women.
Brooklyn Museum. Accessed April 2011.


^ Jump up to:a b c d e f g Koerten, Joanna Huygens Institute for Dutch History,

07/04/2009 . Accessed April 2011


Jump up^ Joanna Koerten Foundation Digital Library for Dutch Literature
(DBNL). Accessed April 2011


Jump up^ May Our Daughters listen , in May her likes be multiplied: biography
and gender politics in Egypt by Marilyn Booth, University of California Press, 2001, ISBN
0-520-22420-5. Accessed April 2011


Jump up^ Koerten, Joanna Woman's record, or, Sketches of all distinguished
women: from the creation to A.D. 1854 . Sarah Josepha Buell Hale, Harper & Bros., 1855


Jump up^ (Dutch) Johanna Koerten Biography in De groote schouburgh der

Nederlantsche konstschilders en schilderessen (1718) by Arnold Houbraken, courtesy of
the Digital library for Dutch literature


Jump up^ Johanna Koerten in the RKD

Biographies about Joanna Koerten:

Joanna Koerten Universal biography by John Lemprire, Publisher E. Sargeant,


AJ van der Aa, Biographical Dictionary of the Netherlands. Volume 10 (1862)

PJ Block and PC Molhuysen, New Netherland biographical dictionary. Volume 10


K. ter Laan, Literary Dictionary for North and South (1952)