Vissers onder elkaar (Fishermen among Themselves), 1926
oil on canvas
82 x 147 cm. (32.28 x 57.87 in.)
Jaap Schilder (nicknamed 'Blaasoog');
Jaap Veerman (nicknamed 'Jaap van Dikke Piet');
Crelis Bond (nicknamed 'De Pul');
two unknown fishermen;
Klaas Steur (nicknamed 'Ôentje' (Doggy)).
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In the second half of the nineteenth century, clusters of fine artists were formed in Europe as a reaction to the rapid industrialisation of society. The artists were searching for inspiration from unspoilt nature or the local population.
With wealthy industrialists, celebrities, even royalty in their wake, Volendam was the place to be. An exotic paradise on the banks of the (then) Zuiderzee that prickles many people's imagination. By the end of the nineteenth century, in response to the industrial revolution, art leaned towards nature. Favourite backdrops were the picturesque villages with simple inhabitants performing their craft. Volendam had a lot to offer in that area. Healthy country girls in elaborate traditional clothes, wooden houses like something out of a painting and a harbour full of red sailed botters: the artists visiting from abroad couldn't get enough of it. In addition, there was an innkeeper in Volendam at the time, Leendert Spaander, who always did his best to please
the artists. He did that so well that around the turn of the century, Volendam was known as an artists' colony, with Hotel Spaander at its vibrant centre.
Spaander was blessed with entrepreneurial foresight. As a small boy he has already seen foreign painters on the quay in Volendam on many occasions, bursting with inspiration but without a decent place to stay the night. Spaander got to know these artists because, at that time, he was the only person in the village who spoke French. During his wanderlust period when he sailed the seas, he strengthened these contacts and
later when he was married and settled, he welcomed them as friends. For many an artist, such as August Renoir, Paul Signac and Edward Grieg, Spaander's home became a nice place to drop in. To help make his dream come true, he put a sign up outside his house with the words `Artist kom binne' (Artist come in). This plaque still hangs alongside many works of art at the Old Inn that he started with his wife Aatje Kout in 1881.
Spaander regularly allowed himself to be paid in art. He didn't expect financial payment from the often impoverished artists. However, he did foresee that many paintings would end up on the walls of the rich and famous who had come to see this heaven on earth with their own eyes. And he was right: they came from far and wide to marvel at the beautiful landscapes, the girls and the cosy harbours.
Partly because of the patronage of artists, Hotel Spaander did booming business. For extra recognition, Leendert and his daughters made promotional trips avant la lettre abroad dressed in traditional clothing. He also maintained contact with the Holland America Line, to entice as many clients as possible to his hotel. His efforts paid off.
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Georg Wilhelm Richard Hering was born in the East Frisian Aurich. He received his education at the School of Applied Arts in Hamburg. He worked in the Netherlands, where he painted the preferred fishermen around the Zuiderzee. In 1910 he first visited Volendam and met his future wife, Pauline Spaander. Other places of his artistic activities were Blaricum, Laren and Edam, where he spent his remaining years. Hering's work is characterized by a special feeling for color and a lively brushstroke.