Relatives contact the Stedelijk: The full story revealed behind the painting Working-Class Woman by Charley Toorop

It is one of the most popular artworks in STEDELIJK BASE: the painting Working-Class Woman (1942-43) by Charley Toorop. On the right, in front of a crumbling wall sits a woman, gazing straight ahead, her hands in her lap, a menacing sky and charred buildings in the background. But the Stedelijk knew very little about who the identity of the woman in the portrait. In her letters, Charley Toorop had described her sitter as ‘a working-class woman’ and called her ‘Mother Punt’. But who exactly was Mrs Punt, and why did she look so sad ….? The museum was completely in the dark. More came to light when a journalist from the Dutch newspaper Noord-Hollands Dagblad mistakenly identified her as Trijntje Klomp-Zult. Mrs Punt’s relatives responded—they knew her true identity—the woman in the picture was their grandmother. The family contacted the museum

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