The sculptor and graphic artist Jacobus Anthonius van Vlijmen was born in 1909 in Rotterdam, where he helped his father paint plaster statues of saints in his workshop. Between 1922 and 1931 he attended the Rotterdamse Academie voor Beeldende Kunsten, where he met Piet Stuivenberg. As a member of the Rotterdam artists’ society R33 Van Vlijmen, influenced by Hendrik Chabot. Before the war, he created mostly figurative sculptures of workers, madonnas and heads in wood and stone.
After the war, inspired by works by Henry Moore and Ossip Zadkine, he became interested in modern sculpting art. He resumed his work with organic-abstract sculptures. In 1947 he had an exposition in the Kunststichting of Rotterdam and in the Kunstzaal Plaats in The Hague. Amidst mediocre critiques, Van Vlijmen was nevertheless invited to become a member of Vrij Beelden, which he joined in 1948 until he left together with the others for the Liga Nieuw Beelden in 1955. From 1950 onwards he was also an active member of the Schiedamse Vereniging voor Irrealisme en Abstractie in de Beeldende Kunst. During this period he also started to create geometrically shaped sculptures. These were inspired by the arts of primitive cultures, for which Van Vlijmen had always been interested. Persistent in his work however is always the fascination for the human forms.
Van Vlijmen worked with plaster, travertine, dolostone as well as different kinds of woods. Later on, he also had colour photos in his exhibitions. Koos van Vlijmen died in 1989.