Jan Rijlaarsdam was born in Nieuwkoop in 1911. He started painting as a young man having attended the Amsterdam Academy of Art. For many years he lived in Hilversum and is regarded as belonging to the "Het Gooi" Artist’s Association and the "Het Gooi" school of art. Rijlaarsdam also spent a considerable amount of time in Belgium and France. The buildings and street life of Paris were of particular interest to him. The work of painters of the "Ecole de Paris," such as DeStael and Poliakoff inspired him to paint with a palette knife, which is one of the characteristics of his style. In addition, following the tradition of the "Ecole de Paris" of the 1960’s, Rijlaarsdam used subdued colours with stunning black and white contrasts in his paintings.