Friday, 29 October 2010

Adriaan Johannes van't Hoff

Adriaan Johannes van’t Hoff

Painter, watercolor, grafic and poster artist.

Well known Dutch Arts and Crafts artist. Famous and loved for his travel Posters and drawings and etchings of animals, particularly birds.

Van't Hoff studied in the Academy of Figurative Art in the Hague (Netherlands) and became one of the best loved and famed artists in the beginning of the 20th century. His work strongly influenced by Art Deco and Jugendstil motifs.

The reason I show him here is was a regular visitor, like Jac. Koeman and Gerrit Dijsselhof of the Amsterdam Aquarium. It is a part of Artis Zoo one of the oldest in the world (1836).
In the Netherlands poster art never developped like in England in an individual art form. English Train, Travel, Zoo and Underground posters ofcourse worldfamous and very collectable. This 1920's one (by Lindenberg) a nice exeption. Zoo's in the Netherlands in heavy financial weather these days.

The Artis Aquarium was esthablished in 1882. The Verkade pictures album of 1925 was illustrated by Koeman and written by veterinian Anton.F.J. Portielje (1886-1965) who was the appointed "inspector of all living creatures in Artis Zoo".
These are two of Hoff's Aquarium renderings, made in the Artis Aquarium.

and two examples of his posters.


  1. The British rail companies and London Underground had to maintain a very big network and the idea behind their poster campaigns was to get people to use the network for leisure. Two thirds of LNER's revenue came from freight and trippers were additional income at the weekends. With the Underground the aim was to get people to use the system outside the rush-hour and away from central London, gaining access to the countryside, the zoo etc. You had the same approach in the US: 'In New York we love winter' for example - an attempt to attract skiers. I assume conditions in the Netherlands were different hence the lack of popular advertising.

  2. Thank you Haji for commenting (as always) and additional explanations of the history and differences in poster art in our countries.

  3. Hi Gerrie,
    I have stumbled across your blog entry while digging through the depths of Google for some of my long-lost Dutch relatives! While I tell myself that the likelihood of a connection is slim due to very common Dutch surnames, large families and constant re-use of first names,it does tickle me to think that Adrianus Johannes Van't Hoff could be an ancestor of mine.

    I actually have an Adriannus Van't Hoff as a great grandfather - who named a daughter (my grandmother) Johanna. But I've heard no rumours of a famous artist, so perhaps I can only surmise that your Mr Van't Hoff is a distant great-great-uncle several times removed. Having an interest in painting and drawing myself, there's the temptation to link myself in any case :)

    Many thanks for the pictures and the notes - I might find a real connection yet!

  4. I have one of Mr.Hoff's prints of a family of impalas and thinking it was worth a tidy sum, was disappointed when the appraiser came back at around $100 US.

    Since I have always loved this print, I refuse to sell it for this piddling amount. He was better than that and should have received more recognition.