CORNELIS ZITMAN (Leiden 1926 – Caracas 2016)
Born to a family of builders, Zitman enrolled in the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in The Hague at the age of fifteen. In 1947 he refused military service and left his country aboard a Swedish oil tanker that would take him to Venezuela. There he works as a construction draftsman and later as furniture designer at a factory of which he became manager. In his free time, he painted and made his first incursions into the field of sculpture.
In 1951 he received in Caracas the National Sculpture Prize for his work Mujer sentada (Seated woman). In 1958 Zitman decided to abandon his business life and moved to the island of Grenada, where he dedicated himself completely to painting and began to assert his style in sculpting. In 1961 he returned to the Netherlands and studied bronze casting techniques. In 1964 he returned to Caracas, this time for good, and started working on small sculptures directly modeled in wax. In 1971 he had his first exhibition at the Galerie Dina Vierny in Paris. From then on, he dedicated himself exclusively to sculpture.
In the following decades, Zitman had various solo exhibitions in Venezuela, Colombia, France, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the United States and Japan, among others. He also participated in international exhibitions like the Sculpture Biennial of Budapest, Art Basel 72, the FIAC of Paris, the Sao Paulo Art Biennial and ARCO in Madrid.
In 2006, the Dutch museum Beelden aan Zee held an important retrospective of his work which later, as from 2008, was showed in many Spanish cities and culminated with this permanent exhibition, thanks to an agreement between the sculptor and the City Hall of Cádiz.
Zitman was decorated with the Order of the Netherlands Lion in 2005 and the Silver Medal of the City of Cádiz in 2015.