Gerard Johan Staller
Gerard Johan Staller
“The painter of Amsterdam’s Jewish folk life”
Amsterdam 1880 – 1956 Amsterdam
Gerard Johan Staller was a Dutch painter, illustrator, draftsman, graphic artist, watercolorist, etcher, and plateel painter. He initially worked for the ceramic industry, but later focused entirely on painting.
He lived and worked in Amsterdam for most of his life.
Staller, himself of non-Jewish descent, grew up close to the Jewish neighborhood on Rapenburg. He lived, among other things, at Oudezijds Voorburgwal 55, from before 1911 to after 1921, and at Haarlemmerstraat 5, 3-high, around. 1950.
The city and the Jewish population, that lived in it, appealed to him as subjects for his paintings.
His work consists mainly of Amsterdam cityscapes and folk scenes of the Jewish quarter around Waterlooplein and the Jordaan, and mainly depict the working life of the simple Jewish population.
Staller had a preference for the fringes of society, market traders, merchants, fishmongers frequently figure in his works. Around 1902 he could also regularly be spotted in Artis with his sketchbook.
His work spans half a century in Amsterdam, and as said; especially the way things are done in the Jewish Quarter, and therefore has great historical significance.
Gerard Johan Staller was praised as; “The painter of Amsterdam’s Jewish folk life”.
His paintings are often beautifully worked through and atmospheric and is clearly influenced by impressionism.
In addition to a few trips to Belgium, Germany and Algeria (1926), he spent almost his entire life in Amsterdam. Staller also received his education in Amsterdam at the State Normal School for Sign Teachers, the Institute of Applied Arts Education and the Rijksakademie of visual arts (1902-1905).
He was one of August Allebé favorite students.
In 1913 he was the winner of the Willink van Collen prize.
Staller was a member of Arti et Amicitiae and the Sint Lucas Association in Amsterdam from 1931 to 1944.
It is told that he had a Jewish girlfriend, and he remained a member of these art associations during WW2 as a cover.
Unfortunately his girlfriend was arrested, deported and killed in Sobibor.
Staller became so depressed because of this, that he never again wanted to paint paintings about the Jewish neighborhood and gave away all the paintings he still had in his studio.
He was the teacher of Frits Schiller, the amateur painter who owned the Schiller Hotel annex café on Rembrandtplein in Amsterdam.
He died lonely and alone, at the age of 76, in his studio, where he was found a few days after his death.
Source: wikipedia / rkd / artindex