Monday, 16 June 2014

Louis Haver, another forgotten printmaker (part I)

Lodewijk Bernardus Franciscus Haver
Known as Louis (or Lou) Haver
(Groningen December 13th 1906 – July 21th 1969 Hilversum)

Largely forgotten and neglected Dutch painter and printmaker.

To me Louis Haver is one of the most charming although very much obscured Dutch printmakers and I have been planning for some time to investigate his life and give him the attention he deserves. The discovery of this latest print is a good opportunity for sharing my first results. The print depicts a typical “viskaar” or traditional fish-well. A fishermen's contraption to keep alive the catch of the day.

Unlike his contemporary Arie Zonneveld (1905-1941) Louis, or Lou, never grew to great popularity or fame and to this day his name is only remembered by a few gourmet print collectors. Although over the years many (some 75) prints came to my knowledge they hardly ever turn up in auctions, which might be an indication of low edition numbers. Most of them have not edition  numbered but a few have. 

To illustrate his obscurity and "unknownness": one of his finest prints is shown in the great book “die Fruhzeit des Modernen Holzschnitts(that I've discussed in the Blog before). It is in the vast museum collection of well known print collectors Hans and Franz Joseph van der Grinten, but even so in the book it is attributed to a phantasy “Louis Han”. It probably is showing the "Noorderhaven", the "Hooge der A" or adjacent canal in his native Groningen in winter. I used to drive by this location for many years to the University (UMCG) Clinic. This print is very similar in execution to the above which, because of it's subject, it was most probably created in Kortenhoef.  
Viskaar near Kortenhoef by Aris Knikker (1887-1962) 
Viskaar near Kortenhoef by Bernard van Beek (1875-1941)

Viskaar near Kortenhoef by Greetje Mesdag-van Calcar who build
and owned the studio that later became Louis' home in 1960.
Louis was the youngest son of sculptor Wilhelmus Antonius Theodorus (or Wim) Haver (1870-1937) and Geertje Meierdres (1870-1946) and after being taught by his father young Louis visited the Arts and Crafts School in Groningen.

His father created the sculpture over the entrance of the Catholic Hospital on the “Verlengde Herenweg” in Groningen (above) Where I was robbed of both my tonsils in the late 1950’s by the way. A very traumatic experience.
Kortenhoef by Bernard van Beek (1874-1941) 
Aged 27 Louis decided to settle in the picturesque rural village of Kortenhoef in 1933 in the Province of Utrecht, at the time a popular painters centre. In 1935 he married Frederike Burgwal (1899- 1967) and was probably living and working as an artist in Kortenhoef. It is known he shared studio’s and exhibited in an artist centre that were created by fellow artists Flip Hamers (1909-1995) and Peter van den Braken (1896-1979). The couple had three daughters. 
View on Kortenhoef by Paul Gabriël (1828-1903) 
In Kortenhoef, in the middle of a typical Dutch “polder” landscape, in the beginning of the 19th century famous Dutch artists like Paul Gabriel (1828-1903) visited for inspiration and to paint and over the years an artist colony developed. In 1904 the widowed painter Geesje Mesdag-van Calcar (1850-1936) and pupil of Paul Gabriel had build a privat studio to accommodate her in summer. 
"De Karekiet" (build in 1904) in 1964
This wooden studio, build on wooden poles over the water, was to become the meeting point for many artists but after the widow Mesdag had died it was sold and transformed into a youth hostel, named “de Karekiet” (the Reed-warbler)  

Geesje Mesdag was married to banker’s son Taco Mesdag (1829-1902), the brother of famous marine and Panorama Mesdag painter Hendrik Willem Mesdag (1831-1915) both also from Groningen. In 1903 she donated their important and precious collection of Dutch Impressionist (“The Hague School“) paintings to the Groningen Museum to form to this day a significant and most important lump of its collections.   

From a close friend of the artist I learned Louis’ marriage ended in divorce in 1959 and meeting  youth-hostel “mother” Maartje Hopman (born Rotterdam, june 13th 1913) he fell in love, and married her in 1960 moving in to stay. From the friend I learned also about his love for nature and sea-fishing, receiving several private photographs like the one above.

All Louis' prints show his love for the outdoors, the wildlife, birds, fish, wild flowers etc. They all show a simple and straightforward approach. His bird observations and prints  resemble closely those made by German printmaker Emil Pottner (1872-1942). 
Emil Pottner 

And his boats those by Daniel Staschsus (1872-1953), always with keen  observation and attention for detail, atmosphere and animal behavior. 
Louis Haver 

Daniël Staschus

Please leave a comment and let me know if an additional posting with more examples of Louis' prints would be appreciated.  

A special thanks to Rob de Mooij for sharing pictures from his collection and Ina de Graaf for sending biographical comments. 

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

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