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PIET VAN DER HEM (1885-1961)
It is his treatment of subject that gave Piet van der Hem his acclaim as an artist. In 1907, when he left for Paris, he and his travel companion and fellow artist Frans Hogerwaard promised to work very seriously on their cultural development. Nevertheless their intended visits to Museums, theatre and concerts are soon replaced by the temptations of the Paris nightlife. This Joie de vivre suits him very well, and becomes one of his main sources of inspiration.
His strength in capturing his subject lies in his ability to record situations with sympathy, involvement and humour, without condemning or even commenting on the situation. He stays away from the cynical mockery of Pascin and the hautaine caricatures of Toulouse Lautrec, without resorting in to righteousness, reproach or moralising in his art.
The combination of skilful technique, use of colour, subject matter, involvement and humour, gave him a very positive reception from the start of his career. 'Hij is een der meest sprekende figuren van onze jonge schildersgeneratie. Hij heeft durf, is daarnaast degelijk, en is een even knap tekenaar als voornaam schilder. Van der Hem is een persoonlijkheid' (A press statement published in the catalogue Tweede tentoonstelling P. van der Hem, Boussod, Valadon & Cie., The Hague 1913)