Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Han Wezelaar

Henri Matthieu (Han) Wezelaar (1901 - 1984) was a Dutch sculptor. He is seen as an important representative of modernism.
From 1918 to 1922 Han Wezelaar studied at the National School of Applied Arts by, encouraged by the painter Herman Kruyder. He married his classmate Margaretha Wilhelmina Visser and the couple went to the French Collioure, where he was inspired by the Mediterranean light. After about a year the couple moved to Paris where Han Wezelaar worked in the studio of Ossip Zadkine.
In 1929 Wezelaar met Aristide Maillol, Charles Despiau and Adam Fischer. All were focused more on classical sculpture and Wezelaar abruptly stopped his expressionist style. In 1933, Margaret gave birth to a daughter, and the following year the family moved back to Amsterdam for financial reasons. His French style shook the established sculptors awake: they were still working in the style of the Amsterdam School full of Socialist symbolism. Wezelaar became the leader of the movement.
He was selected for the world exhibition in Brussels and Paris, the Venice Biennale in 1936 and '38 and the Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco in 1939. He was, also in 1939, co-organizer of the first Rodin exhibition in the Netherlands.
When World War II broke out Wezelaar refused to join the Dutch Chamber of Culture and dried his revenues; his marriage ended in the same period. Around 1955 abstraction came as a new approach to sculpture. Wezenaar’s position as an innovator radically changed when he and his colleagues of classicism were named the "doll makers". 
His last public works, ‘Rembrandt van Rijn’ and ‘Peat Diggers Memorial’, were slated and Wezelaar withdrew from public life. In 1984 he died of cancer.

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