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Fraser Valley man discovers canvas by ancestor in local antique shop

Painting part of immigration story

Tags: Genealogy

CHILLIWACK, British Columbia - One of the many canvases painted in the Netherlands by great-grandfather W.J. Lengkeek over 90 years ago, recently was purchased for a song by Fraser Valley realtor Art Lengkeek at an area antique market. Lengkeek was tipped off by an acquaintance who had deciphered the painter's signature and noting the name, asked Art if there had been a painter in his family.

Since his discovery of the what now has become a family heirloom, Lengkeek had the painting restored and was told it possibly could fetch as much as US$1,500. However, to Lengkeek and his wife Hanna (Hofsink), the painting is just priceless.

Lengkeek's family history has it that his great-grandfather, a house painter by trade, supplemented his income by painting landscapes in his spare time. A father of 11 children, ‘W.J.’ had no trouble selling his work. Art had often lamented the fact he had none of ‘W.J.’ canvases in his possession.

To discover one of W.J.'s paintings so far from ‘home’is nothing but amazing to the Valley's realtor who now is very eager to learn how and with whom the painting, ‘Birch Trees’ (Berkenbos) made its way across the Atlantic and Canada. Lengkeek can be reached at 604-855-0800 (office).