LAWRENCE STEIGRAD FINE ARTS

Old Master Paintings, Drawings, and British Portraits

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GEORG WILHELM RICHARD HERING (Aurich, Ostfriesland 1884 – Edam 1936) 

A Cottage Interior in Volendam

signed G. W. Hering with the first two initials conjoined and dated 1920 in the lower left

oil on canvas

37 ½ x 31 ⅝ inches          (95 x 80 cm.)


PROVENANCE

Private Collection, Florida, circa 1968 until the present time

 

Georg Hering’s work has been characterized as halfway between romantic realism and a type of impressionism that was associated with the Hague School.[1] He studied with Lovis Corinth and spent 1897 – 1898 at the Arts and Crafts School in Hamburg.  He moved to Volendam by 1910 and for periods of time also worked in Edam, Blaricum, and Laren.  He worked in oils, watercolors, pastels and etched. His subject matter was devoted to the fisherfolk from the towns around the Zuiderzee and became particularly well-known for his depictions of life in Volendam.[2] In 2008 the Zuiderzee Museum in Enkhuizen purchased a painting by the artist titled Volendamers painted in 1916 depicting a fisherman in regional dress in a cottage. Another painting by Hering is in the Drents Museum, Assen.

Hering like so many of his colleagues arrived in Volendam in search of the “unspoiled” villages of the Zuiderzee. From the 1880s onwards foreign artists from all over the world had become enamored with all things Dutch and arrived in droves to search for what they considered to be the “true” Holland. Volendam, eleven miles north of Amsterdam, in the 1880s was a remote fishing village accessible only by canalboat or carriage. Such isolation had left Volendam largely untouched by the modernization and industrialization prevalent in Dutch cities such as Rotterdam and Amsterdam or other foreign capitals and it was exactly this feature which proved so attractive.  Lacking hotel accommodations a local entrepreneur by the name of Leendart Spaander spotted an opportunity and opened his house to foreign artists. By 1881 he had purchased a bar in Volendam and converted it into the Hotel Spaander (which is still in existence today).[3] In 1895, cleverly and with much forethought, Spaander had two of his daughters don the traditional dress of Volendam and accompany him to the opening of an exhibition for the Dutch artist Nico Jungman in London, causing a sensation. Spaander followed this up by having postcards printed featuring Volendam and his hotel and sent them to all foreign art academies. He also ran ads for the hotel with the Holland-America shipping line. At the hotel he installed rooms featuring typical Volendam interiors and then rented them to artists. For an extra fee he supplied models. Spaander had seven daughters who often posed for artists and not surprisingly three eventually married painters, including his daughter Pauline who married Georg Hering in 1912. Spaander further extended his operation by buying the land behind his hotel and building studios for artists who wanted to prolong their stay in Volendam. As a result of such accommodations an international artist colony formed. Spaander was also able to amass a large art collection as unpaid accounts were occasionally settled in exchange for paintings. Volendam viewed as quaint, colorful and exotic teeming with artists, along with Spaander’s ever growing collection, all functioned as a draw for the hotel and attracted tourists from everywhere. Millionaires such as Andrew Carnegie, William Randolph Hearst, Anna Pavlova, Harold Lloyd, Clark Gable, and Walt Disney as well as members of the Dutch and German royal families visited.[4]

Pauline and Hering along with her sisters Trinette and Conny and their husbands the French artist Augustine Haricotte and the Dutchman Wilm Wouters held a central place within the artist’s colony of Volendam. They acted as role models for the community and were particularly helpful in assisting new arrivals and organizing ateliers. Leendart Spaander lived to be 99 years old (1855-1955) and through the years his collection grew substantially, to which Hering contributed sixty works. Because of the nature of its formation the Spaander Collection is viewed as a guideline to the artistic heritage of Volendam, the importance of which was documented in Volendam Artists Village: The Heritage of Hotel Spaander published by the Zuiderzee Museum in 2009. A detail of one of Hering’s paintings was used as the cover and numerous works by the artist were reproduced within the text.[5]

Outsiders idealized the people of Volendam who were viewed as pious, honest, healthy and happy. Their needs were felt to be meager and were seen as removed from such social ills as alcoholism. Their colorful costumes and tiny wooden houses with doll house interiors crammed with objects appealed to the imagination of artists and collectors alike.[6]  Hering’s A Cottage Interior in Volendam projects these same ideals. Dappled by sunlight cascading from a nearby window filled with a patchwork of an impressionistic landscape a couple is shown seated at a table near a hearth. The husband clothed in a red tunic, wide black trousers and slippers typical of the region, is reading a book. His wife, wearing a distinctive lace cap called the Volendam “Hul” with the black jacket and blue skirt common for the district, rests her feet on a warming box while gazing intently at her knitting. It was widely held that Dutch women always knitted when not otherwise occupied.[7]  The walls hung from floor to ceiling with paintings, prints, and shelves filled with knick-knacks were customary in the community. Cozy and content Hering’s subjects demeanor combined with their modest surroundings underline their humility and the obvious peace and joy they have found within their shared existence.

 

 

[1] Ivo Blom “Of Artists and Tourists: ‘Locating’ Holland in Two Early German Films” in A Second Life German Cinema’s First Decades, Amsterdam University Press, Amsterdam, 1996, p. 255.

[2] Biographical information taken from François Gerard Waller, “Georg Richard Wilhelm Hering” in Biographisch woordenboek van noord Nederlandsche graveurs, Nijhoff, ’s-Gravenhage, 1938, p. 137; Hans Vollmer, “Georg Hering” in Allgemeines Lexikon der Bildenden Künstler des XX. Jahrhunderts, volume E-I, Veb E. A. Seeman Verlag, Leipzig, 1953, p. 426; J.J. Biesing, Tentoonstelling van schilderijen: aquarellen, penteekningen en etsen van Georg Hering, ‘S-Gravenhage, unpaginated; and Ivo Blom op.cit., 255.

[3] Ivo Blom, op. cit., pp. 247-248, 254; and Annette Stott, Holland Mania, The Overlook Press, Woodstock, New York, 1998, pp. 44-45.

[4] Ivo Blom, op. cit., pp. 247, 254.

[5] Brian Dudley Barrett, Volendam Artists Village: The Heritage of Hotel Spaander,  uitgeverij d’jonge Hond, Zuiderzeemuseum, 2009, pp. 132, 144, 150, 154.

[6] Ibid, p. 248.

[7] Annette Stott, op. cit., pp. 46-47.

Lawrence Steigrad Fine Arts

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