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Jan van Borssum Buisman

Haarlems visual artist

In the Guest House of Museum Haarlem is the small exhibition with works by Jan van Borssum Buisman to see. Van Borssum Buisman (1919 – 2012) was a real one Haarlemsculptor, draftsman and the last 'kasteleyn' at Teylers Museum. You can easily come across his images in Haarlem, for example from Bilderdijk at Grand Café Brinkman or in Pieter Teyler van der Hulst in the Nauwe Appelaarsteeg

Exciting student days
Jan was born in the Fundatiehuis of Teylers Museum. His father Hendrik was a painter and 'kasteleyn' – curator/manager – of Teylers Museum. Jan initially studied architecture in Delft and he also took sculpture lessons there with Prof. Oswald Wenckebach. In 1942 he managed to escape the German occupiers with a spectacular flight to Switzerland. There he joined the Swiss Way intelligence service in Geneva. He succeeded several times in smuggling information from the resistance group Vrij Nederland to Switzerland on microfilms. In Geneva he took sculpture lessons again and after the war he finally chose art and also studied briefly in Paris.

Back to Teylers Museum
In 1948 he took the Museum Course at the Rijksmuseum and became an assistant to his father at Teylers Museum. When his father died four years later, Jan succeeded him as innkeeper of Teylers Museum. Jan eventually became a curator of art collections. He lived in the Fundatiehuis until 1984 and then moved to Bakenessergracht 84, where his studio had been located for years. His work is in a large number of private collections and in Teylers Museum, which received a large donation of Van Borssum Buisman's work after his death.

Willem Veenhoven, curator of the exhibition, wrote an extensive study about Jan van Borssum Buisman and his work as an artist in 2021. The book is available in the museum shop.