Hans von Bartels (1856-1913), a painter among the fishing folk10 July 2018 till 10 November 2018
Hans von Bartels came to Katwijk for the first time on the 10th of July 1887.
He stayed in a house on the First Duinpad. There was little comfort and no running water. Those were warm days with almost no wind and a mirror-flat sea. Von Bartels was somewhat disapointed in Katwijk itself but discovered something else: the inhabitants, dossed out in colourful regional costumes. After this first meeting, he returned to Katwijk a second time in 1891 and thereafter every year until his death.
From 1895 artists visiting Katwijk could choose to stay in the chique Hotel Du Rhin on the north side of the Boulevard. The hotel had four ateliers and painters could exhibit and sell their work there. However, von Bartels chose to hire a room by the locals. In this way he developed good relations with them and heard their stories first hand.
Thus we see in the work of Von Bartels a much less romantic view of the fishermans life and much more the daily reality of their hard existance. A good and striking example of this is to be seen in the work ‘ Woman of Dutch fishers waiting for their home-coming ’ ( ‘Vrouwen van Hollandse vissers wachten op de thuiskomst’). His motto was “ What you see, you can paint, that is, if you can see and paint ”.
Apart from Katwijk, Von Bartels visited other artistic and painter’s villages in the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europa. Thus in 1893 he visited the fishing village of Volendam, a popular venue for artists. In 1900 he painted the fishermen around the harbour and fish auction of IJmuiden in oils. In 1908 he took a boat to the, then, island of Urk, where he and his family found lodging with the Mayor and his family. But as the Urker fishermen were at sea, von Bartels painted the woman- folk and girls - in and around their houses, knitting.
In 1909 he travelled from Katwijk to Bretagne in France. In Saint-Guénolé he found a second Katwijk and subjects such as the populace harvesting sea-weed, the chapel by the sea La Chapelle Notre Dame de la Joie, and the yearly maretime procession. Although Hans von Bartels was constantly travelling, Munich remained his home base.
There are about 80 of his works exhibited in the Katwijk Museum, covering a great part of his oevre. From small studies in oils to large ‘chief works’ painted with gouache- that he painted in his studio in Munchen or in one of the places mentioned above. The works are principly borrowed from private collections.
With the exhibition, a 140 page book has been published by WBOOKS, in which the work and life of Hans von Bartels are illustrated in four essays by Karlijn de Jong, Annemarie Kingmans-Class,, Elisabeth Oost and André Groeneveld. All of the exhibited works are reproduced in colour in the book.