Though one of his paintings was auctioned at Sotheby’s for more than $25,000 in 2004, and he was the subject of at least one book during his lifetime, very little information on Jan van Tongeren can be found on the web, and nearly none in English.
He was born in 1897 in the small town of Oldebroek in Gelderland. His father was a cooper and clog-maker. His talent was recognized at an early age and he was given the opportunity to study at the Rijksnormaalschool in Amsterdam. He would become a teacher at this institution in 1928 and stay there until his retirement in 1963, building his considerable œuvre in his spare time.
His paintings are nearly all still lives of everyday objects, carefully placed, meticulously painted with great attention to the various textures. He stayed active into old age, at least until 1983. In 1977, De Opkomende Zon published a book about him, written by Adriaan Venema. He died 1991 in Amsterdam.