Friday, 26 April 2013

Dick van Luyn, Utrecht !

Dick (Dirk Govert) van Luyn
(Utrecht 1896-1981)

Dutch painter, graphic artist, illustrator
Book cover designer, linoleum etcher.

Typical Dutch river scene: River Lek.
As far as I know Dick van Luyn was the only artist using the technique of etching linoleum to produce prints besides Hendrik Christiaan Spruit whoms works I've showed  and discussed in before last posting. Please correct me and send examples or names of other artists who also did.

Van Luyn also was a teacher and well respected artist who lived and worked in Utrecht and had a house and studio in the city’s medieval heart on the Oude Gracht 381 where he also ran a gallery (Kunstzaal de Parterre). The canals of Utrecht (very different from the Amsterdam Canals) are characterized by the many warehouses deep below street level and are of great beauty. 
 Above: Oude Gracht 381: the artist's house and studio and etching by his hand : view on the house opposite.
Below: Oude Gracht with the Utrecht Dom tower in summer.  

The only two works in which he used etching the linoleum that I'm sure of show  his direct neighbourhood in winter: de Oude Gracht. They have the same atmospheric and soft toned appearance as  the prints of H.C. Spruit. They are most probably views from his window (the river scene above could also be one). 
Below: Oude Gracht Utrecht.

He  visited France and stayed and worked in Paris and was befriended with influential and internationally renowned artists like designer and architect Gerrit Rietveld (1888-1964) and painter Piet Mondriaan (1872-1944 New York).

All pictures borrowed freely from the Intent for friendly, educational non commercials use only.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Floris Arntzenius: jars and flowers

(Pieter Floris Nicolaas Jacobus)
Floris Arntzenius
(Soerabaja 1864 – 1925 the-Hague)
Dutch painter

From before posting, featuring etcher Hendrik Christiaan Spruit and his  linoleum-etchings and ginger jar compositions, to painter Floris Arntzenius I think is an understandable and not to big a leap. Both men were afterall contemporaries, lived and worked in the city of the-Hague and both enjoyed an Indonesian youth and background. I guess they must have known one another. The contrast however between the world of color and black and white couldn't be better illustrated.
At the age of eleven Floris was send to the Netherlands from Java (Netherlands Dutch Indies) to Amsterdam were he was raised by an uncle and aunt. He visited the Royal Arts Academy (RAvBK) in Amsterdam 1883-1888 and later the Royal Arts Academy (KAvSK) in Antwerp
In his Amsterdam class were painter-etcher Willem Witsen (1860-1923) and later famous Dutch (the Amsterdam Impressionist) painters Isaac Israëls (1865-1934), George Breitner (1857-1923) who also did (below left) a ginger jar with anemones as did another class mate painter Floris Verster (1861-1927) famous for his flowers still-lives (below right).
Besides, Breitner and Witsen were among the earliest Dutch city photographers recording the city views and its inhabitants extensively on glass-plate negatives.
Arntzenius, perhaps because of his Indonesian background, moved with his widowed mother to the-Hague in 1892 becoming the 3 impressionist painter of but of the-Hague: the Netherlands capitol. His works are collected in our National Museums and in private collections.
He was one of the most versatile Dutch painters: famous for his watercolours he also was a master in painting rainy day street and city life (of the Haque), Dutch landscapes, Victorian beach life, and in later life grew into a highly regarded and requested portrait painter.

But placed between the text of this posting here are his flower paintings often with iconic and aesthetic ginger jars (and nasturtiums) an almost exclusively Dutch composition and “invention”. As I’ve explained in my earliest Blogging career (follow the tags gingerjar) and throughout.
His wife Alida Margaretha Maria (Lide) Doorman (1872-1954) and his eldest (of 4) daughters Elize Claudine (Lies) (1902-1982) were also able painters and they too embraced flowers and (maybe the family's) ginger jars as their subjects. 

Above: daughter Lies, flowers in pot by her and portrait of her by her father.  
Above: one of the loveliest: by Lide Arntzenius, the painters wife.

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

(Today, there has been an addition to the recent posting on Lina Ammer. For those who might be interested)   

Friday, 19 April 2013

Hendrik Christiaan Spruit, wayward etcher.

Hendrik Christiaan Spruit
(H.C. Spruit)
(Cilacap-Java 1881 - 1942 the-Hague)
Dutch painter, teacher and grafic artist, 
wayward linoleum-etcher.

For this weekend, after some serious hesitation and as an exception I've decided letting you into a secret with meeting one of my most special and favorite printmakers. But also one of the most forgotten, neglected and obscured artists. Concerning his biography there's nothing much to go on in the public archives but I've decided sharing what I've found and collected so far. Often reactions om postings lead to new material and facts. Let's hope so.

Born in Netherlands Dutch-Indies (Cilacap on the south coast of Java) in 1881 by Dutch parents he returned (in or around 1907) as did probably his parents, to live and work as so many returning ex-colonials in the city of the Hague. Anno 2013 H.C. Spruit I decided is definitely in need of some renewed attention and certainly appraisal.
I was able to trace a Carel Johannes Pieter Spruit (1854 -1949) and his wife Wilhelmina Johanna Reuhl (born 1858) as a constructional military engineer in Java. His parents. The agricultural Spruit family roots and ancestors originating from around the city of Bodegraven near Gouda. H.C.'s grandfather was also a Hendrik Christiaan.

Most of his work is characterized and signed as Linoleum Etchings. I know of only one Dutch artist who tried at this technique also (I'll introduce him in next posting): Dick van Luyn (1896-1981) but never he came close to the stunning results H.C. Spruit was able to achieve with just acid, paper and ink and some flooring material. And a scoop of talent of course.

I have no knowledge of any other artist using or trying this special technique to this scale. And I mean to say: in the whole world. Besides these peculiar and very soft toned etchings H.C. Spruit created several lithographic prints, and I've read about at least one painting in oil. He always signed: H.C. Spruit and often used the monogram HCS

Water lilies in linoleum etchings and in lithographic print (lower).

He married in 1915 Maria Jongman from Vollenhove, the marriage was not a particularly happy one and just one son was born and in the family tradition was named after his grandfather: Carel Johannes Pieter (1918-2010) a biochemist, married to Alida van der Burg (1914-2009). And I know H.C. had a namesake contemporary nephew H.C. Spruit (1875-1952) who was a professional artist sculptor (in Amsterdam), but I haven't been able to trace any examples of his art.

My favorites: highly aesthetic ginger jars with Nasturtiums and Violets, so very and typically Dutch. H.C. Spruit confirming my fascination and admiration for these "classic" combinations. 

I have no idea how many works Hendrik Christaan Spruit created, nor where he was trained. I've collected an odd few over the years (what you see here) but occasionally an unknown and new-to-me, print surfaces. They vary from small to huge, the sunflowers and lily in Japanese vase measure 40 x 50 cm, the sheet 50 x 70 cm. The rather dark and (some say) gloomy appearance is not to everybody's contemporary taste. But I can't help loving them. One of the first prints I started my collecting with was the reddish small blossoming tree print (above). 

I'm convinced the combination of technique used and the medium Linoleum did not allow for printing any substantial editions, the linoleum probably wearing off quickly using the heavy etching press. 
All prints I've seen and examined closely excel however in highest quality and detailing, and the bigger ones have a very rough, shark skin like, surface also proof of the artists high standard limiting the use of the blocks (plates) before they ware off completely and not printing to the bitter end. This collection is probably also proof of combined and his perhaps developping techniques. Sadly H.C. Spruit didn't number or dated his editions, this small landscape (below), one of my latest acquisitions thanks to an observant dealer (thank you Sergei !) is the only exception: not dated but numbered 5/10 confirming very low edition numbers. 

Below: Morning Glories, Prunkwinde, Klimmende Winde, Lat. Ipomoea tricolor:
 prints from lithographic stone (L.) and linoleum etching (R.).

I'm always interested in more and new biographical facts about this wonderful artist, his life and his family as I am of course in acquiring any new prints. For the purpose of swapping over the years I've reserved some very nice extra prints that's why I'ld rather not sell any. Here're the ones I know of and I'ld like to discover and add to my collection one day (following 3 prints below). 

And to my great surprise: just this afternoon I was able to contact his grandson: Prof.Dr. Hendrik Christiaan Spruit  (b.1948) a research scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics (MPA) near Munich who was likewise surprised and informed me his grandfather was a teacher at drawing in the Hague: This posting will definitely be continued ! 

  All pictures are mouse-clickable to embiggen.

All pictures (when not from my personal collection) borrowed freely from the internet for friendly, educational and non commercial use. 

Summer dunes: monogram CE

In a recent carboot expedition I found these two small (19 x 27 cm.) oil on board paintings (sketches?). Cleaned and refitted with nice old frames they are now on my wall but would I like to know who was so acquainted with paint to create these summer dune impressions with such ease. The monogram CE on just one of them is the only faint clue and even after some serious investigation I have not the faintest idea about the artist. But who cares ?