Gallery Artists > Henry C. Balink Biography :

Henry C. Balink (1882 - 1963)  Artworks >>

Henry C. (Hendricus Cornelis) Balink was born on June 10, 1882 in Amsterdam. His talent and fondness for the arts was discovered in primary school. However, his father refused to let his son pursue an artist career, upon which junior ran away from home at the age of sixteen. Set on becoming an artist, he earned and saved the needed tuition fees by participating in bike racing and skating competitions in the Netherlands, and by working as a stuntman for an American film company. From 1909-1914 he studied at the Royal Academy of Art in Amsterdam with Derkinderen, Dake, Van der Waay and Six, and belonged to the top of his class. After marrying Maria Wessing, he and his bride came to the United States. Balink worked in New York for a short while, then moved to Chicago where he painted portraits for private patrons and murals at the Lady of Sorrows Basilica. In 1917, the Balinks went west and settled in Taos, New Mexico on Ledoux Street. The sun and landscape of the Southwest lit up the painter's palette significantly. He showed his work at art exhibitions in Santa Fe, Colorado Springs, Tulsa, Kansas City, Chicago, Philadelphia and New York, and his paintings of Indians and Pueblo village scenes became popular and a commercial success. Members of the Taos Society of Artists unsuccessfully tried to have him deported from the U.S. They were motivated by professional jealousy, and tried to have Balink deported by accusing him of espionage. In 1923, Balink settled permanently in Santa Fe where he built an adobe studio on the Old Santa Fe Trail. From here he made numerous trips to Indians reservations in the American West to draw and paint. He also became known for his etchings of Indian subjects, an art and craft he had expertly mastered at the Royal Academy and which he developed further artistically and technically in New Mexico. He invented a new type of crayon and worked on perfecting a duo tone etching technique. From 1926 to 1930 he did much work for patrons in Oklahoma. Oil tycoon E.W. Marland commissioned him to paint portraits of Indian chiefs, and a series of one-man shows were staged in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Ponca City, and Chickasa. He painted on Indian reservations in Montana and Arizona, and began experimenting with photography. In the 1930s Balink taught mural painting and applied wood sculpture at the Santa Fe Indian School. He painted on the Hopi reservation and on the Sioux reservations in the Dakotas. Fascinated by the art of pottery making, he painted canvasses of Pueblo potters and Pueblo pottery. Several times his works won prizes at the annual Western art exhibitions of Western State College in Gunnison, Colorado. After World War II Balink painted Indians in Arizona and Montana. He trained George Phippen and advised Dwight D. Eisenhower on his amateur painting, while his work remained a popular success. This popularity explains why so much of his work is still in private collections. Museums with holding of works by Balink include the Museum of Fine Arts in Santa Fe, the Albuquerque Museum of History and Art in Albuquerque, the Tucson Museum of Art, the Woolaroc in Bartlesville, the Thomas F. Gilcrease Museum and the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, and the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center in Oklahoma City. Balink died in 1963 and is commemorated in Santa Fe by a bronze plaque in front of the Museum of Fine Arts. Source askart.com

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