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A COLLECTION OF WORKS BY GERARD JOHAN STALLER (Dutch, 1880-1956)
Gerard Johan Staller was born in Amsterdam on 2 January 1880, where he lived and work most of his life. The city of Amsterdam, and especially the Jewish people living in this city attracted Staller as a subject matter for his paintings. His oeuvre mainly existed of pictures he made in the Jewish neighbourhood around the Waterlooplein and the Jordaan and reflect the everyday life of the people. Staller was the chroniqueur of this typical part of Amsterdam, and was also known as the painter of the Amsterdam Jewish popular life.
Staller grew up nearby the Amsterdam Jodenbuurt, at the Rapenburg and later moved to the Nieuwe Prinsengracht. Although he wasnt jewish himself, he was particularly attracted to the Jewish community and their intimate character. As a child he used to roam about this district to observe the people and always took his sketch-book to make drawings of the city and the busy streets where Jewish merchants sold their goods. After having finished the Rijksnormaalschool, he received his artistic training at the Quellinusschool and the Rijksacademy in Amsterdam from 1902 until 1905 from amongst others August Allebi. In the beginning he earned a living with decorating crockery at the Keramische Industrie, but soon he devoted himself to oil painting only. Staller is above all known for his colorful town views in which typical characters often play an important role. He found most of his inspiration in Amsterdam, although during his trips to Belgium, Germany and France he also made numerous studies of the cities he visited. He painted in an anecdotal and naturalistic way, often with a Jewish sense of humour. He made paintings, watercolors, drawings, etchings and lithographs in which he reached the soul of the Jewish people.
His vivacious pictures give us a good view of Amsterdam and the Jewish every day life before and after the Second World War. The horrible persecution of the Jews and destruction of the Jewish area during the war hurt Staller deeply. After the war he dedicated himself to paint animals, but after a while he started painting the city life again. His oeuvre shows half a century of Amsterdam Jewish history and also has an important historical meaning. Although he was a well-known Amsterdam painter before the war, he was unfortunately quickly forgotten afterwards.
Staller became a member of the artists societies Arti et Amicitiae and St. Lucas in Amsterdam and participated in their expositions. In 1913 he won the Willing van Collenfonds prize. On 19 October 1956 Staller died in his studio at the Haarlemmerstraat in Amsterdam at the age of 76.