The time at the Hague Academy

At the age of 14, on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons Frans is following a preparatory course still life drawing at the Academy of Fine Arts in The Hague. He will get lessons from Jan Giesen. A year later he was admitted to the daytime course and he gets lessons from among others Henk Meijer, Paul Citroen, Willem Rozendaal, Aart van Dobbenburgh, Ahrend Hendriks, Willem Schröfer, Cees Boldingh, Dirk Harting, Sierk Schröder and George Hogerwaard. During the period at the academy he develops his passion for the work of Leonardo da Vinci. Until his death Leonardo will be his tutor. During this period he built friendships with, among others Hans Kroesen and Gerard Lutz.

On September 24, 1938 he began keeping a diary.

In 1940 the Second World War broke out. In that year, he qualifies himself in etching and lithography. He gets a German Nazi propaganda magazine into his hands containing an article about degenerate art. It shows a large number of illustrations of works by Max Ernst, Rene Magritte, Andre Masson, Giorgio de Chirico and many others. It is for him a feast of recognition and it strengthens him in continuing following the chosen path.


Dante Inferno - Canto XIII (1941)

The Lyre bird (1944)

Ecce Homo (1944)

Serenade (1945)

In 1943, he helds his first exhibition, together with Hans Kroesen. There are about 250 drawings and watercolors exhibited. It is also the beginning of a difficult time. The pressure increases by the German occupiers. He is forced into hiding to avoid that he will be employed in Germany. He finds shelter in Rijswijk and a few months later, he hides in the family home in the Van Linschoten Street in the district Bezuidenhout in The Hague.

From March 1, 1945, the bombing by the Allies at the Haagse Bos in The Hague is so intense that the family must leave the parental home, they can only take some modest items - including the diaries - with them.

On March 3, 1945, during a bombing the family home is completely destroyed. Almost all his paintings and drawings are lost. But he experiences this loss as a liberation. All the lost work with the many shortcomings will no longer stare at him. He can start all over again completely.


Hypnotising Hoornflastofiel (1947)

The flight from reality (1946)

Sad Frastilofaat (1947)


Dante Inferno - Canto I (1947)

Donars kaftan (1948)

Queen of the night (1949)

Shortly after the liberation, on July 17, 1945, he takes up residence in a courtyard house in William Street in The Hague. He established himself as a painter and takes the name of JOHFRA. This is a combination of the initials of his birth name FRAnsciscus JOHannes, in reverse order.