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The Dutch Courier
is a monthly
publication,
published on behalf
of the Associated
Netherlands
Societies in
Victoria Inc.


De digitale krant van wakker Nederland

JAN VAN FUCHT,
a man of many talents.
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After his tour of duty finished, in 1950, Jan returned to Holland and went back to school until 1951. Jan was soon after offered a job, which would have taken him back to Indonesia but to his disappointment the job fell through at the last moment. Undeterred, Jan discovered a German bunker in the dunes, which he, with the permission of the Burgemeester [Mayor] of Beverwijk, turned into a dwelling. Electricity was connected, windows were put in and presto, Jan had his own home and studio.

His water colours of fishing boats in IJmuiden  and those of the Koninklijke Hoogovens and  Staal  Fabrieken, (a huge complex of factories and yards), paintings and sketches of the lighthouse, watertower and semaphore, sold readily and brought him to the attention of a Mr. J.H.Verhoog, the person involved in the Promotion Department of the Koninklijke Hoogovens. This led to the first major breakthrough in Jan’s career. The President Director of the Hoogovens, Dr.A.H.Ingen-Housz was retiring and a special farewell was planned. To mark the occasion it was decided to ask the young Jan van Fucht to create a Panorama of the entire complex and the surrounding area. Jan accepted the commission and based on photographs taken at certain times of the day and combined with personal observation and artistic interpretation of the site, Jan set to work on this gigantic task. The Panorama had to fit into a specific space; an area of 6 metres high and with a diameter of 30 metres and circumference of 95 metres. The panorama was to be painted in sections. Jan first placed the canvasses on the floor and drew the outlines in charcoal, then they were raised into a vertical position. They were flat panels, which later would be joined and turned into a circle. This created a technical problem, straight lines would look curved, so Jan drew them curved and when the panorama was assembled they looked exactly right. Another concern had been that the panels might not fit together and that the images would not match. But Jan had worked everything out to perfection, all he had to do when the panels were put into position was to paint over the seams. Jan did not only include every structure of the Hoogovens site in the complex of 300 hectares, he also showed a bird’s eye view of the surrounding landmarks, the lighthouse, Velsen with the Provincial Central Power station [P.E.N.] the towers of the Velsen tunnels, Beverwijk churches and other buildings, Wijk aan Zee and the townships of Heemstede, Haarlem and Driehuis. The background of the whole picture was framed by the North Sea, the dune landscape and the North Sea canal. Nothing had been left out. Jan used 50 kilos of paint and it took him only 70 days to create this approximately 500 square metre Panorama. It was an incredible achievement. The Panorama was taken to England for a trade fair where it was very much admired.

Jan met his wife in 1956. The bunker was enlarged when a summerhouse was added. Two children were born while they were living in the bunker. But after a very cold winter it was decided to go in search of a better climate, it was then that the family packed their bags and migrated to Australia in 1960. Artists hardly ever have it easy and it took sometime before Jan found suitable employment. After a few interviews Jan was engaged by the television station Channel 7, later at Channel 9 and eventually Channel 0, where he became Supervisor of Scenic Art.  In the meantime Jan also had regular exhibitions of his paintings and was involved in the production of an animated film. After six years in Australia the family decided to return to Holland but 2 years later came back to Australia where the film would be marketed. Unfortunately this did not eventuate and Jan had to start from scratch again. This time he found employment with J.C.W., [a theatre company] and created and painted stage props and backdrops. In his spare time he continued to paint and exhibit. One of Jan’s exhibitions was opened by Lady  Dellacombe,  the wife of the Governor of Victoria  who later sent him a note saying how much she had enjoyed his exhibition.
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