Jean Adams

Portrait of Professor Martinus Cobbenhagen (1955, oil painting)
Foyer Cobbenhagen Building

Erfgoedportaal - Rector Magnificus Martinus Cobbenhagen

This posthumous portrait of Professor Martinus Cobbenhagen (1893-1954) was painted in 1955 by his friend and artist Jean Adams (1899-1970). Adams, just as Cobbenhagen a Catholic priest, knew him from his time at Rolduc, the seminary of the Limburg diocese, where they both had taught in the 1920s. Adam’s plans were to study French language and literature, but his bishop decided to appoint him as a teacher of drawing at Rolduc. Later, the priest-painter would recall this appointment as a Providential Decision. Adams left the seminary in 1935 to fulfill pastoral duties in several parishes in Limburg for some years.

Jean Adams was educated at the National Academy in Amsterdam and at the Roman Catholic College (RK Leergangen) in Tilburg, where he gained his teaching certificate. From 1953 onwards Adams could entirely focus on painting and sculpture, due to the bishop’s decision to dismiss him of all of his pastoral work. His oeuvre consisted largely of religious portraits and natural landscapes. Adams was also active as glazier and sculptor. For his oeuvre he was awarded the Cultural Prize of the province of Limburg in 1956. He was also one of the founders of the Art Council of the National Department of Education and Sciences.

portret Cobbenhagen door Jean Adams

Portrait of Cobbenhagen by Jean Adams in the newspaper 1963

Adams’ portrait of Cobbenhagen, painted in 1955, is figurative in character, but shows profound influence of cubism which was introduced at the beginning of the 20th century by painters such as Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso.

 Cobbenhagen was professor and rector magnificus during the years 1932-1933, 1937-1938, and 1945-1946. He was of great significance to the Catholic Business School (Roomsch Katholieke Handelshoogeschool) in Tilburg. He died suddenly in 1954 but was remembered by his colleague Hendricus Kaag as 'the spiritual father of the Catholic Business School'. For his efforts to connect economics and ethics at the School, he was indebted to Catholic Social Teaching. During the Second World War, Cobbenhagen was interned as a hostage in neighboring Haaren because of the School’s dismissive attitude towards the German occupier. The oldest building on campus is named after him.

More about history and academic heritage

The Tilburg University academic heritage is a very diverse set of archives, visual materials, collections, devices, recorded stories, et cetera that relate to the history of the university.