When considering the work of the artist Jan Olyslager (born 2-Sept-1926, The Hague) we can not ignore those turbulent post-war years in which many artists, saw an intense need for change, started experimenting ideas from the beginning of the century, bringing them forward and re-discovering them and processing them in their own way.
In The Hague, artists like Hussem, Ouborg and Sinemus took the lead and the young rebel Jan Olyslager was one of their most fierce defenders. This fierce movement against the traditionalism was not appreciated by the official art world and the "innovators" were often sharply criticized..
During the 50’s some recognition for the artists who had fought for a new form of expression (by experiment, deformation and abstraction) developped. In these new forms of expression seeking simplified basic shapes and primary provision of the essence of the perceived was central.
In 1955 Jan Olyslager chose an 'informal' direction in art. Except for a few visionary minds this movement was almost unanimously rejected by the Dutch in the Hague . Nevertheless this period turned out to be crucial to Jan Olyslager's development. During this time he moved forward on the path of the sovereign validity of the autonomous peinture. Painting proceeded to be an automated process with no preconceived plan and where intuition and the subconscious played an important role. After the first brushstrokes a dialogue was created on canvas in which Jan was guided by a strong passion that sprung from an emotional state of mind. This dynamic aspect, which is present in many of his paintings, also finds its origin in his vitality and was fed by the urge to survive. In creating the paintings he was always searching for clarity which he, using the combination of palette knife and brush, tried to find through the separation of transparent and opaque oil.