Saturday, April 15, 2017
Johan van Hell
Johannes "Johan" Gerardus Diederik van Hell (1889 –1952) was a Dutch visual artist and musician. He was a dedicated socialist and a man with a highly developed social conscience. Many of his later works depict the struggles and plight of ‘the man in the street’. In 1925, he decided to produce lithographs to make art available at a reasonable price to the working class. He also gave free private art and music lessons to gifted students who could not afford the tuition.
His art oeuvre is varied, ranging from oil paintings, water colours, wood cuts and lithographs to political posters, ex-libris and magazine and book covers and illustrations. He also received regular commissions from the City of Amsterdam for monumental art. His music was at least as important to him as his art. His instrument was the clarinet but he also played the oboe. He regularly performed with Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw Orchestra but refused a permanent position. In his last years his music took precedence over his art.