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Jos Postmes en Jef Scheffers

Painter Jos Postmes became the first director of the Middelbare Kunstnijverheidsschool. Postmes was a protégé of the influential alderman for culture Jules Schaepkens van Riempst, whose family name harks back to the eponymous 19th-century artists. Like the alderman, Postmes envisioned a regional, Catholic identity for art education in Maastricht. His dream was to attract specialists from outside the region and, eventually, set up a Limburg art academy, of equal standing to the academies in Amsterdam and Antwerp. After his premature death in 1934, he was succeeded by lecturer Jef Scheffers, who started out teaching drawing in 1929 and remained as director until his retirement in 1971. The very striking Scheffers had little regard for the idealism of his predecessor, Postmes, and made the development of painting his primary focus. He encouraged Ger Lataster, Jef Diederen, Pieter Defesche and others to continue their studies in Amsterdam. Two of the famous teachers from those days were Henri Jonas and the sculptor Charles Vos. Vos and his successor, Albert Meertens, influenced a number of post-war sculptors, including Piet Killaars, Vera van Hasselt, Nic. Tummers, Frans Gast, Arthur Spronken, and Appie Drielsma.

Co-founders of the Jan van Eyck Academie, the cleric Leo Linssen and director of the Stadsacademie Jef Scheffers.
Co-founders of the Jan van Eyck Academie, the cleric Leo Linssen and director of the Stadsacademie Jef Scheffers.
The Jan van Eyck Academie originated in the 1920s, the result of an initiative by the director of the Middelbare Kunstnijverheidsschool Jos Postmes and architect Alphons Boosten. After Postmes’ death in 1934, the idea was taken forward by the priest Leo Linssen and Postmes’ successor, Jef Scheffers. The Jan van Eyck Academie was founded on the Feast of St. Servatius, 13 May 1948, by the Bernulphus Foundation. Until the late 1950s, the teaching was based on the Catholic faith. With the end of the Reconstruction in sight, a change of course was necessary. Fine arts became the exclusive domain of the academy, leaving the Middelbare Kunstnijverheidsschool, under its new name Stadsacademie, to focus on the applied arts and industrial art.

Maastricht Institute of Arts