“A collective of artists from Groningen”
In 1918, several young artists take the initative to found the art collective known as De Ploeg (meaning both “the Plough” and “the Group”). This name was carefully selected: art in Groningen was like undeveloped land and needed to be ploughed thoroughly before something new could grow. By joining forces and organizing shared expositions and other activities, Groningen could be prepared for modern art.
The artists collective quikly grows when members like Jan Wiegers, Jan Altink, Johan Dijkstra, H.N. Werkman, Jan Jordens, George Martens and Alida Pott join the group. Membership is not limited to visual artists: even architects and writers join the collective. However, painting and graphic arts have always been the main focus of the group.
Despite never having an artistic manifesto, De Ploeg’s modernist tendencies have been clearly present since the beginning. The initial members found inspiration in illustrious predecessors like Vincent van Gogh, and in the works of contemporaries. This willingness to incorporate external influences in the 1920s had led to a period of great creativity, mainly centered on expressionism.