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Fine Art/Ronald Fryling - artist


Renier E. H. Emons wrote at 2012-10-28 18:59:46
What a lot of bull! This is by far the most outrageous “biography” of my stepfather that I have set eyes upon.

Ronald Henry Arthur Frijling signed all his work as Ronald Frijling. He did oil paintings (landscapes, stills) and portraits and water paintings; illustrations for books (long after his death in 1941, according to the very limited and inaccurate biography that has been circulated by Christies), greeting cards, designs for storage tins and generally everything that provided an income using his skills.

He never went “native”! He was the second son (of 4) of a Dutch planter (from Zwolle) and a woman of the Dutch East Indies, then known as Indie.

He came to Holland by boat through the Suez Canal at a young age for further studies in Holland and paintings with these from what is nowadays Indonesia were painted by him from memory. The same applies to paintings from Suez and Port Said.

He stayed with a brother of his father in Zwolle (Uncle Han) and went to the HBS in Zwolle.

He actually died in 1996 in the province of Noord Holland; about 1½ year after my mother died.

There are some nieces and nephews in Holland who can corroborate most to all of what I say, depending on their age and how well they knew their Uncle Ron. My own children can testify to all of this as well as they have known him virtually until the last day.

My children have a portrait of my mother that he painted sometime in the seventies.

I wrote an email to Christies several years ago when I discovered the very inaccurate “biography”, but they never bothered to reply. I guess it serves their purpose if he is recorded as having died in 1941.

However, David has an unbridled fantasy and not knowing anything of the painter “Ronald Frijling” he just made up his own story with, what may have seemed to him, plausible explanations for certain paintings that have turned up.

He had a phenomenal graphic memory. The painting you have was painted by him in the sixties. At that time he produced 100s of themed greeting cards for a Dutch company in The Hague, called SVH, who had commissioned him. SVH was a wholesaler in office supplies (kantoorboekhandel). The cooperation spanned more than two decades.

The themes comprised among others “City views in Holland”, “Dutch landscapes” and “Klederdrachten” = “regional national dress”. There were many others, but they are not relevant at the moment.

He would drive around Holland and settle anywhere that he thought would make a good picture.

He’d make water paintings and sketches of his subjects and would put the finishing touch at home. The water paintings were sold to SVH, who printed the greeting cards from them. These water paintings, incidentally, were all signed by him!

He would often seize the opportunity to make oil- or water paintings of other subjects that caught his eye, if he had the time. More often than not he’d finish them at home. The boy in Volendammer costume was such an effort. I remember it, because was there when he finished it.

If you intend to make some money out of it then give it to Christies. I am certain they will spin a nice tale and make you some money.

There are other auction houses, that sell my step father’s paintings and they are all using the same “biography” that Christies uses! I’m not sure about the origin of that particular brand of human fantasy.

One thing is certain, Ronald Frijling was a gifted artist, with an eye for detail, who could create wonders with a pencil, a piece of carbon or a brush. I am not writing this because of my special association with him, but simply because he was!

Renier E. H. Emons  

Arthur F. wrote at 2013-06-29 21:37:49
Ronald Henry Arthur Frijling, who was my uncle, left the Dutch East Indies (Java) in the early 1930s and settled in Zwolle, The Netherlands.

He was born in 1917 at Glenmore Estate, a rubber, coffee and cocoa plant in East Java, Banyuwangi district. His Dutch father was the Estate manager and his Mother was of mixed blood (50% Javanese 50% Dutch). He never got married in the Dutch East Indies and he never got married to an Indonesian woman. He passed away on April 10, 1997 in The Netherlands.  

Ron van der Maat wrote at 2014-01-19 10:44:17

coincedently I found your website and the "story" of Ronald Frijling.

Hopefully you do not mind, but I would like to mention some mistakes in what has been written.

Ronald was born in 1917, but did not die in the 1941's. He died in 1997 in Amsterdam and, to my knowledge, lived in the De Laressestraat (the name of the street). after returning from Indonesia, he accepted orders for (wall) paintings and made very much christmas cards. He also gave lessons in drawing and painting.

As far as I can see, the painting of the Volendammer guy is from him (vieuwing his signature). in our family we still have several paintings made by him, as he was married to an aunt of mine (my father's sister). So he was not maaried to an Indonesian woman.

Hope you will find this information interesting.

Kind regards

Ron van der Maat, The Netherlands

A Retel wrote at 2014-12-03 19:25:25

The artist in question and to which David refers to is actually Ronald Henry Arthur Frijling (pen sigature Fryling).  He was friends of my parents who are also of from Indonesia and lived in Holland, more so his brother Harry who lived on the same block where I grew up as a child in the Netherlands.

Records show that he was actually born in Indonesia on the Island of Java as was his brother to dutch parents.  Indonesia was still a dutch colony at the time.  He was well known for his Indonesian paintings, which my parents were lucky enough to get from him in late 50's early 60's.

I actually have one of his paintings which was painted on a tortoise shell my father got in New Guini and it was painted by Ronald in 1962 of an Indonesian seaside moonlight.  I still keep in touch with one of his nephews Arthur who told me a bit of history about this. My mom who lives in Canada also provided me with some information about Ronald, so I would say this is quite accurate.  

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D. E. Lombardo


I am unable to answer enquiries concerning objects, which are NOT related to the areas of Fine Art and Antiques. Nor will I; on the sole basis of any photographic images be willing to give any definitive monetary valuations, or monetary opinions. In such cases I would always advise on getting “real time” valuations and opinions from reputable and qualified auction houses, or third parties. In some applicable cases, I may perhaps give general indications of value, based on the presented materials. True valuations always need a direct “hands on” approach, with perhaps also the necessary research and verifications. Broadly open to almost all questions, regarding the majority of both European, American quality objects, which are related to both Antiques and Fine Art. This also includes modern 20th century designer objects such as furniture etc. My own particular comfort zone areas would be; The decorative Arts, marble, stone, furniture, ivory, bone, amber, ceramics and porcelain, sculpture, glass, silver and metal objects etc. I will also answer inquiries, and give opinions concerning Dutch 17th, 18th and 19th century paintings. Please note that I do have limitations and cannot possibly answer all questions, as the field is very extensive. VERY IMPORTANT and PLEASE NOTE: Please note that; providing > GOOD CLEAR and Preferably High Resolution < photo's of the object(s)in question, is vital. Pics taken with a cell/mobile phone, are of a poor quality and best avoided. Posting signatures only, or just fragments of an artifact - will only provide me with insufficient information and it is often quite misleading. So please; Do post good clear overall images, with your question(s). Failing to do so, may cause rejection, which is also a great pity.


Since the early 90’s I lead a team of very enthusiastic staff at a business, where have the following disciplines; Restoration and refurbishment of historical buildings and gardens, including interior design. The restoration and care of Fine Art and Antiques at our restoration studio We are also Fine Art and Antique dealers, besides being collectors ourselves for a great number of years.

The main professional organization of which I am a member is the BNA, or Association of Dutch Architects, which is equivalent to the US; American Institute of Architects. Affiliated to the Art Loss Register in London and the International Cites Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.

Villa Rufolo; The forgotten paradise on earth. Published by the University of Aarhus, Denmark Book reviews and articles for International Archis Magazine, in the Netherlands.

Since I wished to become a Restoration Architect, firstly I took my BA degree in Art History. Then after graduation, I followed this immediately by studies to graduate and become a Restoration Architect. Ever since then, I have been an established Restoration Architect and Antiquarian. Since a great number of buildings are also inhabited by Fine Art fixtures and furnishings, I also became absorbed by all the artifacts, which go to fill them and not only the edifices themselves. This and much more, was the reason for gaining an advisory post on the City Commission; For The Protection and Care of Historic Monuments of Amsterdam - Amstelveen.

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Citations and gratitude; “From the Town of Amalfi” for the groundwork achieved in order bring back the Historical past to the Medieval Villa Rufolo and its vital role in the region. BA in Art Hisory. Graduation Diploma as an Architect & Antiquarian; and also practicing as such. I have also completed a 3 year course in antiques, at the VHOK in Amsterdam VHOK is translated as; ( "The Association of Fine Art Dealers In The Netherlands.")

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