Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Han Mulder

Johanna (Anna, Han) Mulder
(b. the Hague, 1935 - )
Dutch graphic artist.

Recently I was given this print as a present by my old friend Bauke "that was more befitting to my rather then his collection". And do I love it.  

There's absolutely nothing I can find other then the artist's birthday and place (the Hague, 16th oktober 1935) and her involvement with Dutch artist Gaby Bovelander (b.1931) and that she may have lived (and worked ?) in Apeldoorn and/or Arnhem in the late 1960's. That's all. 

There're two things that makes it both charming and interesting: A) The goat itself, immediately reminding of the most famous of all Dutch "poor men's cows" of them all. By short lived but brilliant painter and printmaker Jan Mankes (1889-1920). He did both a painting and a woodblock print of his goat. And Arie Zonneveld  (1905-1941) did a great lam.

I have no intention try showing all goats on prints here. But there's a tradition of goats on prints from Nicholas Berchem (1620-1683) to William Nicholson (1872-1949)

And only recently I discovered the wonderful animal world of Kurt Meyer-Eberhard (1895-1977). 

Who, I learned, happened to be a student of Walter Klemm (1883-1857). He preferred a lifelong private career as an etcher of animals over a professorate.

And I stumbled over this most charming Dutch "one off" by Gra (Gerharda Johanna Wilhelmina) Rueb (1885-1972). She did only one in this medium and I think she was familiar with the works of Samuel Jesserun de Mesquita, Mr. Artis Zoo, whom I presented earlier in this Blog. 

And there's B) the second feature of this little print. It's the brilliant and clever positioning of the outline or suggestion of buildings at the upper most margins of the composition thus creating a "dramatic" change in perspective and great suggestion of depth. With just a bit of gray paint. I've seen it applied in several other works, like this woodcut by Rudolf Treumann (1873-1981) above.

But applied most spectacularly I remembered it in this great print "the timber Crane" by Australian Ethel Spowers (1890-1947). It's that little triangle of light , the few centimeters of roof tops in the upper right corner that changes the way the brain digests what the eyes began exploring. Glancing over the scene from lower left upwards. Because the black mass and direction of the crane's boom are working as an forceful invitation to "start over here". Enhancing a feeling of enormity even more dramatically as the already chosen very low viewpoint not "allowing" the whole crane in the composition: there's no need to show the whole of the huge crane because of this great "trick". A truly spectacular work.  
I've seen it also in a prints of River Seine in Paris but wasn't able to dig them up from my pictures archive because I didn't label them accurately enough as such. When I find them I will, but maybe there'll be help from readers who know more examples. 

All pictures borrowed freely from the Internet for friendly, educational and non commercial use only.               



  1. Professorship. But didn't he do both?

    1. Charles, now you make me think. I obviously have to check my sources. Will do tomorrow. Thanks.

    2. You wrote professorate and there's no such animal. He had a post in Weimar.

    3. Dear Charles, I appreciate being corrected as much as I do British humor.
      "Professorate definition: the office or the period of service of a professor". After all such an animal exists according to my dictionary. But I agree: professorship would have been more appropriate and showing better use and understanding of the English language. We all (the not British educated) make mistakes like this some times but that really is besides the meaning of this posting. Don't you agree ?
      And you're right, he had this position. Checking multiple sources is vital for publishing reliable information. I'm still reading and learning.

  2. I love the goat prints. My great-uncle raised goats when I was small and the kids tried to eat my hair. Goats are under-appreciated. The crane print of Ethel Spowers is wonderful.

    1. Glad you enjoyed Karen and I love goats milk btw. Thanks for commenting.