Daughters Esmee and Zaphira Bor did not know what happened to them when they emptied the house of their mother who died in June. They could have guessed that the job would take a long time. Renée Stotijn (1940-2020) was an avid collector. More than a hundred bags of clothing went to the recycling center and countless garbage bags disappeared into the waste container. But when she came across dozens of unknown oil portraits, hundreds of watercolors and drawings halfway through the job, it was a huge surprise.
The sisters are in the parental home that has not yet been cleared out. The furniture – a table with chairs, an antique cabinet, a sofa bed strewn with sketches – is still in the house and the walls in the en-suite living room are still hung with watercolors of scenes, sketches and paintings of dolls by their mother’s hand. “Of course we knew this work on the wall, but we had never seen the hidden artworks,” says Esmee (44).
Their mother had made storage spaces everywhere. In the narrow hall near a tiny kitchen, Zaphira (32) points upwards to the lowered black-painted ceiling. “There the portrait paintings lay thick with dust, next to still lifes and cityscapes. One beautiful portrait after another appeared. She has been hiding them there since the 60s, ”says Zaphira.