Old Master Paintings, Drawings, and British Portraits


WILHELM GDANIETZ (Mainz 1893 – Düsseldorf 1969) 

A Volendam Fisherman Lighting his Pipe

signed W. GDANIETZ in the lower left

oil on canvas

31 ⅝ x 27 11/16          (81.7 x 70 cm.)


Private Collection, Chicago


Wilhelm Gdanietz was a painter of interiors and genre as well as a printmaker.  He studied at the Art Academy of Düsseldorf with Claus Meyer, the history painter Karl-Franz-Eduard von Gebhardt, and Willy Spatz, from 1911 – 1918. He also apprenticed in the studio of Franz Kiederich.[1] In 1927 Gdanietz stayed at the Hotel Spaander in Volendam and discovered the subject-matter to which he would devote his career.[2]

In, A Volendam Fisherman Lighting his Pipe, a typical cottage interior is depicted. The walls are white stucco, the floor is covered by a striped thrush mat, and the only piece of furniture is a simple wooden chair. The decorations consist of an earthenware jug, a mounted blue and white plate with a string of copper pot lids hung over the sitter’s head. The covering of walls with china as well as kitchen utensils was typical for the area.[3] Wearing the traditional dress of the village that consisted of wooden shoes, wide black trousers, red tunic and a fur hat or karpoets with a heavy jacket slung over the back of his chair, a fisherman sits smoking a long clay pipe.[4] Such scenes of fisherfolk in repose, secure in their own home along with a few prized possessions, came to characterize the majority of Gdanietz’s oeuvre. After returning to Germany in the 1930s, in order to maintain authenticity, the artist transformed his studio in Düsseldorf into an interior that replicated a Volendam cottage. He further outfitted it with objects, furniture, and costumes from the region as well as other parts of Holland.[5] Unwavering in his passion, immune to contemporary art trends, Gdanietz continued to paint Volendammers for the rest of his life.[6]

Gdanietz’s Im Gelben Seidenkleid (The Yellow Silk Gown) is recorded as in the National Gallery of Berlin.[7] Another painting by the artist of the same size and similar subject titled Oude Volendammer met Fuik (Old Volendammer with Fish-Trap) is in the permanent collection of the Hotel Spaander.[8] Volendammer in Interieur, again closely related to A Volendam Fisherman Lighting his Pipe, that Gdanietz executed circa 1930 in a horizontal format, was purchased by the Zuiderzeemuseum, Enkhuizen in 2010.



[1] Biographical information taken from Hans Vollmer, “Wilhelm Gdanietz” in Allgemeines Lexikon der Bildenden Künstler des XX. Jahrhunderts, volume E-I, Veb E.A. Seemann Verlag, Leipzig, 1953, pp. 212-213.

[2] Brian Dudley Barrett, Volendam Artists Village: The Heritage of Hotel Spaander, uitgeverij d’jonge Hond, Zuiderzeemuseum, 2009, p. 160.

[3] Holland-Broek, Monnikendam, Volendam, Marken – By Steam Yacht, 1913.

[4] Brian Dudley Barrett, op. cit., p. 62.

[5] “Wilhelm Gdanietz” in Volendam in Interiors, Zuiderzeemuseum, November, 2010.

[6] Hans Kraan, Dromen van Holland, Waanders Uitgevers, Zwolle, 2002, pp. 375 – 376.

[7] Hans Vollmer, op. cit., p. 213.

[8] For a reproduction see Brian Dudley Barrett, op. cit., p. 114.

Lawrence Steigrad Fine Arts

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