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Born in Amsterdam, Holland, Henry Balink became a painter of New Mexico atmospheric landscape and Pueblo Indians as well as a printmaker and teacher. His work has bold colors and strong composition.
He studied art for five years at the Royal Academy in Amsterdam where he received strong classical background and the ability to depict images with clarity and realism. He paid for his education by working as a bicycle racer and ice skater, having no support from his parents who discouraged the pursuit of his art talent. He then went to New York and Chicago where he did portrait commissions and a large mural and was employed by the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
In 1917, he and his wife were in Taos, New Mexico, having had their curiosity aroused by a railway poster in a train terminal. In 1923, he settled in Santa Fe and there came into the subject matter that became the central theme of his work for the remainder of his life--the culture of the American Indian.
With bright colors and bold brushstrokes, he did numerous Indian portraits as well as landscapes, and his painting in New Mexico showed a much lighter palette and looser brush work than his earlier ones. The natural light was of course an influence as was the need to work fast to capture the activities of the Indian ceremonies. He also carved his own picture frames.