This chronology includes references to Han van Meegeren, Jopie Breemer, Theo van der Pas, and their families and associates, and their portraits by Van Meegeren. Other entries pertain to historical figures and events within the timeframe of this paper.
8 December: Joseph (Jopie) Breemer is born in Amsterdam to Isaac Breemer (1829-1895) and Paulina Zoest (1849-1891). His siblings include sisters Johanna Paulina (1874-?), Sophie (1881-1885), and Grietje (1883-?) and brothers, Lodewijk (1884-1940) and Victor (1886-?).
Jopie lives with his family first in Soest and then in Rotterdam. Father Isaac Breemer is a physician and an unqualified surgeon who practices from his home.
5 February: Johanna Theresia Oerlemans is born in The Hague.
10 October: Han (Henricus Antonius) van Meegeren is born in Deventer, the third of five children of Roman Catholic parents Augusta Louisa Henrietta Camps and Hendrikus Johannes van Meegeren. His father is a teacher of history and French in Deventer. Until 1907: During his secondary education at the Hogere Burger School (HBS) Van Meegeren receives private drawing lessons from Bartus Korteling (1853-1930).
13 April: Maria Ertel born in Wels, Austria.
17 July: Anna Zoreida de Voogt is born in Deli, Sumatra, Dutch East Indies, of an Indonesian Muslim mother and a Protestant Dutch father who was employed as a colonial administrator by the Dutch East India Company. Anna is said to be a direct relation of the Sultan of Serdang on her mother’s side. Before she was five, Anna’s parents divorced and she was sent to live with her paternal grandmother in the village of Rijswijk near The Hague.
Jopie Breemer’s mother dies, and he is now under the supervision of his father who is alone with five surviving children to support.
12 December: Jopie Breemer’s father dies and leaves nothing at all to his children to help them through life. The younger children go into an orphanage and Jopie continues with his art studies but encounters great financial difficulties in pursuing these studies even with small subsidies.
In his second year at the State Academy of Fine Arts, Jopie Breemer leaves his art studies and decides to become a poet writing short sonnets in the Impressionist style of the 1880s. He was later to meet several poets and literary writers from that generation known as the Tachtigers (Eightyers). He continues on his own to draw and sketch.
January: Jopie Breemer, age twenty-two, goes to live in a bohemian colony of artists, writers, and poets housed in the remaining part an old Amsterdam mill known as “De Duif” (The Dove)” (56) The mill is located very close to a section of Amsterdam called De Pijp, a well-known bohemian quarter. Many artists come to visit but not live at the mill; Piet Mondrian was a frequent visitor. This may be Jopie’s earliest identification as a bohemian artist. He has to earn some sort of living so he does not stay long at De Duif.
September: Although he holds no belief in militarism, he becomes a full-time soldier and is present at the coronation of Queen Wilhelmina this year. In his uniform the almost five feet four inch Jopie cuts a military figure of sorts. He is described as having a full beard, high forehead, brown hair, brown eyes, round chin and holds his head slightly to one side. A woman friend of Jopie’s says he has a Christ-like head.
5 October: Theo (Mattheüs Wilhelmus) van der Pas is born in The Hague to Willem Pieter van der Pas and Jacoba Visch, the youngest of six children, five of whom (including Theo) study music and pursue musical careers. Theo’s father and grandfather each play a musical instrument. The children often make music together. When Theo is old enough to start school he studies music, learning the violin and piano. His first professional piano teacher is Carl Oberstadt.
July: Jopie Breemer leaves military service with the rank of sergeant. His most important skill gained during his military service was learning stenography. He may have returned to the mill De Duif to live; also living there at the same time was Arthur van Schendel and the two men become very close friends. Breemer travels to Paris and Berlin to experience bohemian life. The vie de bohème of Paris – Montmartre and the numerous cabarets – makes a deep impression on Jopie. He returns to Amsterdam where he resumes his pursuit of poetry and sows the seeds of the Jopie-hol – the Jopie cave. Jopie has not given up his pursuit of art; he paints and draws when he can. From September to December he lives with the Cohen family at Prinsengracht 788 and later takes a room of his own for a time.
August: Jopie lodges with the Broekman family at Keizersgracht 802. The portraitist A.M. (Adriaan Marinus) Broekman (1874-1946) makes a portrait of Jopie that is later owned by the poet C.S. Adama van Scheltema.
Jopie travels with friends, the artist Martin Monnickendam and Nan Mauve and her sister and mother to Norway and Sweden. Jopie visits Berlin, and he does so often.
The residents of the bohemian community in the mill De Duif have to leave in order for what remains of the old building to be demolished for an ambitious urban renewal project, Amsterdam’s South Plan. Jopie finds work as a milk taster. Amsterdam has 1,138 milk dealers, and milk tasting seems to be the leading contemporary method of quality control. Since Jopie abstains from tobacco and alcohol and likes to drink milk, he has found the nearperfect job.
Jopie Breemer takes up residence in a small Amsterdam apartment at Kerkstraat 270, which is known as the Jopie-hol (the Jopie cave) where he has two Vermeer reproductions on the walls and an odd assortment of furnishings. He maintains an open house during specific evening hours for the artists and intellectuals of Amsterdam, especially for adherents of socialist thought. Jopie’s personality, that of an intelligent, open-minded, warmhearted, peace-loving man and caring host and friend, makes the rather shabby apartment interior a beacon attracting young people who have hopes for success (but were nowhere near achieving it) and those on their way to success. Those who reach success – and they are many – are names recognized in Netherlands cultural history of the 20th century. The Jopie-hol becomes, for a few years, the pinnacle of Amsterdam’s cultured bohemian life – and Jopie was the bohemian-in-chief. Another aspect of the Jopiehol was its inclusion of young liberated women of the era – women (usually with higher education) who train for and seek professional careers in many fields including the arts and design, and who wish to see the end of sexism in Dutch society.
Jopie Breemer celebrates the marriage of his friend artist Martin Monnickendam (1874-1943) to Alice Mouzin, director of the Industrial School for Female Youth. Among the friends celebrating are artist Gerrit Willem Knap (1873-1931); Jan Eisenloeffel (1876-1957), interior designer, goldsmith, and illustrator who was skilled in so many more arts and crafts that he was a one-man Wiener Werkstätte; and sculptor Abraham Hesselink (1862-1930).
Van Meegeren’s father sends Han to Delft to study architecture where he becomes a member of the Catholic Student Society Sanctus Vergilius. This date for his architectural study is questioned by Frederik Kreuger for what he says if the lack of documentary corroboration from Delft Technical University. No alternative corroboration is available anywhere else.
August: Jopie Breemer, still struggling to be an artist, makes a portrait of his friend Arthur van Schendel who has published several novels, a few of which have been lauded by the critics and sold well. Van Schendel works for a time at a small atelier-cum-private school begun by Jopie. Breemer knows a young woman, Anna de Boers, who he introduces in some fashion to the young widower Van Schendel, and they marry. Van Schendel later has a long and illustrious career as one of the Netherlands leading novelists; Jopie’s portrait of the novelist is used in several editions of Van Schendels’s books and in biographies about him.
This is the year cited as the date of a portrait of Jopie by A.M. Broekman (1874-1946).
Jopie moves to Leidsegracht 91, which becomes the new quarters of the Jopie-hol. (Gracht is the local word for canal.) Like his first apartment, this one is also furnished in an odd assortment of simple and serviceable items. He never serves alcohol to his guests; instead they drink water, milk and tea. Tea, especially, becomes part of a daily ritual in which Jopie and his visitors create a social bond with intellectual discussion, singing, recitations of poetry including Jopie’s own poems, joke telling, friendly chat and occasional flirtation. Jopie is the heartbeat of this small world of bohemian bonhomie.
In the archive of the Stichting Vrienden van de Schilder Martin Monnickendam there is a birthday card to Martin Monnickendam’s young daughter Monarosa (Roos) Monnickendam from Jopie, dated Sunday, 3 January 1909, on which there is a drawing of the little girl. This was most likely the first birthday of Roos.
In August, Jopie has sent two congratulatory cards to Monnickendam – the celebratory events are unknown – with the second card bearing a drawing of a king with a rich apple in his hand and a musketeer. It is not clear if this drawing was Jopie’s.
Jopie Breemer’s reputation as a welcoming and open host at his new Jopie-hol has become solidified in the circles of people around him. He is known as an adherent of socialism as are many of his guests, and he moderates political discussions about socialism at the “cave”.
Portrait now titled Bohemien (Jopie Breemer) by Jan Poortenaar. The portrait is in the permanent collection of the Jewish Historical Museum, Amsterdam. This year is an approximate date for the painting’s creation.
Young Han van Meegeren meets a fellow art student, the shy and serious Anna de Voogt, a beautiful young woman a year younger. The couple fall in love and Anna becomes pregnant this year.
Portrait in pencil or ink of Jopie Breemer by Ed. Gerdes. The portrait appears in the 1998 edition of De ontboezemingsbundel, page 31. The portrait is first cited in Ribbens, page 82, but not dated in Ribbens’ entry although the year appears on the portrait written clearly next to Gerdes’ signature.
18 April: Van Meegeren marries Anna who has converted to Catholicism under pressure from Han’s father so that her children will be raised as Catholic although Anna was raised as a Protestant, not a Muslim. The young married couple go to live for a time with Anna’s grandmother in Rijswijk, in an upscale house and community.
Jopie meets Johanna Gerarda Kruls (b. ca.1893) – Pom is her nickname – and they soon begin to live together.
From June to mid-December, Jopie goes to The Hague to work as a night porter at the Palace Hotel.
26 August: Van Meegeren’s son Jacques Henri Emil is born in Rijswijk. (An online article about Jacques van Meegeren at Wikipedia is the most accessible biography.)
At year’s end Jopie returns to Amsterdam and to Pom.
8 January: Van Meegeren wins first prize and a gold medal in a drawing competition held by the General Sciences section of the Delft Institute of Technology for his drawing of a 17th century church interior, that of the St. Laurens Church in Rotterdam.
6 February: Jopie Breemer marries Johanna Gerarda Kruls who he first met when she visited the Jopie-hol. They have a three-month honeymoon of sorts in London and then the couple move to The Hague. Jopie spends several years working there as a doorman at the Palace Hotel, the Grand Hotel Scheveningen and in Kasteel Oud-Wassenaar. The Kasteel is a villa built in late 19th century neo-Renaissance style and converted to a hotel and restaurant in 1910. Jopie reports of one Grand Hotel experience where he had a philosophical conversation in the hotel elevator with a guest who was a professor of philosophy. In the summer bathing season Jopie works to earn money for winter trips abroad in Europe with his wife, especially to Paris and Vienna.
This year Jopie Breemer publishes an edition of his poems, aphorisms, drawings and amusing light verse De ontboezemingsbundel (The Outburst). He was always known by his nickname Jopie, never using Joseph unless he had to complete an official document.
October: Jopie Breemer travels to Paris.
Theo van der Pas begins conservatory study with the piano as his chosen instrument.
Han van Meegeren receives his M.O. diploma in drawing and he and his family move to Scheveningen.
Since Jopie left Amsterdam the previous year the Jopie-hol cannot survive without him despite the best efforts of friends like Piet Endt and Johan Stärke to keep the “cave” going. The Jopie-hol is no longer.
Theo van der Pas enters the Royal Music Conservatory at The Hague.
24 March: Van Meegeren’s daughter Pauline Hermine is born in ‘s-Gravenhage; later she and/or her family favor using the name Inez. This is not a legal change of name, merely the abandonment of a given name in favor of a preferred new one.
Among his artwork this year Van Meegeren makes the head of a Jew but the work is said to have been lost in World War II.
Another drawing “De Talmud-lezer” (The Talmud Reader) is made by Van Meegeren.
Theo van der Pas plays the piano accompaniment for two of his sisters who also study dance. The Van de Pas parents invite people to the house for these music and dance evenings at their home.
24 April-22 May: Van Meegeren’s first solo exhibition, in Kunstzaal Pictura, The Hague. This exhibit includes the 1915 portrait of the “Talmud-lezer.”
Article by Van Meegeren’s friend, Carel Hendrick de Boer, “Nieuwe stroomingen in de hedendaagsche schilderkunst. (New tendencies in present-day painting.) [Part] I. H. van Meegeren,” De Cicerone, 1918, pp. 89-96. On page 90 is a “Portret-Studie” of Jopie Breemer. De Cicerone was founded by De Boer but it did not last more than a year.
23 May: Jopie Breemer and his wife Pom (Johanna) divorce but they meet from time to time. Jopie continues to travel and to work.
Theo van der Pas is awarded an education degree, at an unusually young age, from the Royal Conservatory.
2 December: Van Meegeren is accepted into membership of the Haagse Kunstkring (Hague Art Circle).
November: From this year until 1923, Van Meegeren, Carel de Boer and de Boer’s wife Jo share a studio called Take Sono, in what undoubtedly is a ménage-à-trois.
Theo van der Pas is awarded a diploma for his soloist study with piano teacher Karel Textor. The diploma cites his achievement in musicality. On the advice of Textor, the seventeen-year-old Van der Pas studies abroad – in Paris with the famous pianist Robert Casadesus and in London with composer Percy Grainger.
In a new edition of his book, De jongere generatie, first published in 1913, E. (Abraham Elias Jessurun) d’Oliveira writes of an interview with C.S. Adama van Scheltema, a poet who was part of the socialist circles that included Jopie Breemer. D’Oliveira describes the living room of Adama van Scheltema’s house in which hangs a portrait of Jopie Breemer made by A.M. Broekman who was active and living in Laren ca. 1913. D’Oliveira says that Adama van Scheltema had no idea of the identity of the portrait’s sitter despite owning it for about ten years and even though Adama van Scheltema knew Jopie.
Van Meegeren travels through Italy for three months. Accompanying him into the precincts of high society sought out by Van Meegeren is the night porter Jopie Breemer. The two men are friends since the days of the Jopie-hol and after, with proof provided by Van Meegeren’s ca. 1915 portrait study of Jopie. There are no confirmed reports by anyone of visits by Van Meegeren to Jopie’s cave. Van Meegeren was very young and still pursuing his art studies during Jopie’s years at the Jopie-hol. Jopie is about fourteen years older than Han van Meegeren and Jopie is the total opposite in temperament from Han’s stern, cold, forbidding and unforgiving father.
Van Meegeren makes the famous pencil drawing Hertje (Fawn).
23 December: Theo van der Pas makes his official debut as a piano soloist at the Pulchri Studio, The Hague. His program includes Bach, Chopin, Schumann, Mozart, Debussy, John Ireland, and as a throwaway encore, Liszt’s challenging virtuosic Mephisto Waltz.
17 May-7 June: Van Meegeren’s exhibition of Bijbelsche Tafereelen (Biblical scenes) in Kunstzaal Biesing, The Hague.
From this year until 1927, Theo van der Pas develops a career as an accompanist with some solo performing.
A daughter is born (date unknown) to the now-divorced Jopie and Pom. Nothing more is known about the child; the couple remain divorced.
23 March: Han van Meegeren and Anna de Voogt divorce. Vann Meegeren is having an affair with Jo de Boer, the wife of Carel de Boer about which De Boer seems to have known all along. Anna learns of it later and may have taken her children with her to live in Paris.
June: Van Meegeren and the De Boers give up their shared studio.
Laughing Cavalier and Satisfied Smoker by Frans Hals appear on the market. These are the first forgeries Van Meegeren produces and they are accepted for a while as genuine works of Frans Hals.
Between October and December: Gordon C.T. Randall is born in London, England (UK Marriages, 1796-2005.)
Theo van der Pas marries Jacoba Gilberta Rudolphine Middelraad. She is known affectionately in her family as Cootje. From this year on Theo makes a series of debuts with various orchestras and ensembles and continues as an accompanist to many singers.
Jopie makes trip to Vienna and meets Maria Ertel on a train.
Van Meegeren is named Secretary of the Painting and Sculpture Section of the Haagse Kunstkring.
23 June: Jopie Breemer marries a second time, in Vienna, to Austrian-born dancer Maria (Mitzi) Ertel. Mitzi is described as a stingy, worn-out “ballet girl” – who could be described as a dancing worker bee in the corps de ballet. Jopie returns to the Netherlands with his wife.
“Een van de weinige vriendschappen die hij [Martien Beversluis] in de laatste jaren van de oorlog overhield was die met de schilder Han van Meegeren. … Van Meegeren en Beversluis hadden elkaar jaren eerder leren kennen. Beversluis declameerde al op 29 december 1925 gedichten voor de Haagsche Kunstkring op verzoek van Van Meegeren die binnen dit genootschap een vooraanstaande positie innam.” (One of the few friendships he [Martien Beversluis] had in the last years of the war was with the painter Han van Meegeren. Van Meegeren … and Beversluis had met years earlier. On 29 December 1925 Beversluis recited poems for the Hague Art Circle at the request of Van Meegeren who occupied a leading position in the association.) See Adriaan Venema, Schrijvers, uitgevers en hun collaboratie (Amsterdam: Uitgeverij De Arbeiderspers, Amsterdam, 1988), pp. 203-204.
9 April: A son Willem, known as Wim, is born to Theo and Jacoba van der Pas.
April: Jopie Breemer and Maria Ertel open a dance school in TheHague. During its existence it is known variously as Dansinstituut Breemer-Ertel and Breemer-Ertel Dansschool.
24 December: A son Erik is born to Jopie and Maria Breemer in ‘s-Gravenhage.
Theo van de Pas becomes head piano teacher at the Rotterdam Conservatory, and he creates a Hague-Rotterdam nexus that lasts until 1940.
21 July: Augusta van Meegeren, Han’s mother, dies in Amersfoort, Utrecht.
November: A free reproduction of Van Meegeren’s 1921 Haagse Kunstkring Print of the Month, a pencil drawing called Hertje (Fawn), is available at the Haagse Kunstkring. The print becomes one of the most popular art reproductions in this and succeeding eras and is found in many Dutch homes.
Anna de Voogt van Meegeren leaves for Sumatra with both her children.
Theo van der Pas enters the First International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw; this competition will be held every five years. Quite surprisingly, Van der Pas is not awarded any of the top six prizes of which the first and fourth are awarded to Russian competitors and the second and third to Polish competitors. The fifth and sixth prizes are not awarded at all as they are at every competition hereafter (except 1942). Van der Pas is awarded a Diplôme d’Honneur instead. The politics of international music competitions is apparent and in this instance the competition founders and the jury wanted a Polish pianist among the top prizewinners at the inaugural event. Van der Pas goes on to make a career as the Netherlands leading Chopin interpreter and plays with internationally known artists as an accompanist and in chamber groups and as a soloist with leading symphony orchestras.
12 December: A daughter Thea is born to Theo and Jacoba van der Pas.
April: Van Meegeren founds the monthly art magazine De Kemphaan (The Fighting Cock). The magazine opposes the modern art movement and is strongly devoted to figurative art in the classic Dutch 17th century style. Van Meegeren funds the publication, contributes articles (often using an alias) and designs the cover. He names right-winger Jan Ubink as the editor. Contributors include Martien Beversluis, who writes notorious anti Semitic verse in other periodicals.
22 November: Van Meegeren marries the actress Johanna (Jo) Oerlemans, former wife of the art critic C.H. de Boer.
Jopie Breemer is now the dance master at his and his wife’s dance school at The Hague.
3 May-10 May: Van Meegeren exhibition of portraits, paintings and drawings, Deventer Association for Tourism.
Anna de Voogt returns to the Netherlands from Sumatra with her children.
Throughout the 1930s Theo van der Pas builds a highly regarded musical reputation as piano soloist and conductor and continues as piano accompanist to leading singers. During this decade he records with leading orchestras and instrumentalists, Dutch and foreign.
March: Final edition of De Kemphaan. Jacques van Meegeren leaves for Paris to study electrical engineering. Very little is known of his sister Inez’s early life and school years.
10 September: Hendrikus J. van Meegeren, Han’s father, dies in Amersfoort, Utrecht.
October: The discovery in July of Man and Woman at a Spinet, a heretofore-unknown Vermeer, is announced by prominent art historian and critic Dr. Abraham Bredius in Burlington Magazine, 61:145. The painting is, in fact, Van Meegeren’s newest forgery, done in the style of Vermeer.
October: Jopie Breemer appears at the Haagse Kunstkring where he is the narrator at a schimmenspel or shadow play, Faustina, created by a schimmenspel master Frans ter Gast. Het Vaderland, 5 October 1932, p. 3.
8 October: Theo van der Pas debuts as the conductor of the Van der Pas Chamber Orchestra.
After a bitter controversy in the Haagse Kunstking about his assuming a more important position, Van Meegeren gives up his membership.
Autumn: Van Meegeren and his wife move to Roquebrune on the French Riviera, taking up residence in the Villa Primavera.
December: Jopie Breemer appears as the narrator in a schimmenspel created by Frans ter Gast called De moord van Raemsdonck (Raamsdonck’s Murder). The review is significant for devoting a double-column article to this and other of Ter Gast’s shadow plays, Nieuwsblad van het Noorden, 17 December 1932, p. 27.
December: Jopie Breemer appears at the Haagse Kunstkring as the narrator in a schimmenspel by Frans ter Gast telling the story of Bluebeard. The narration was the text by Luc Willink with a piano accompaniment.
“Dansschool Breemer-Ertel” is located at Groot Hertoginnelaan 282, The Hague, where it remains until 1940. The school advertises heavily in the months of September and October in Het Vaderland, running ads in sixteen editions during the entire months, announcing registration for September and October classes.
Van Meegeren produces four (unsold) paintings in 17th century style: Woman Playing Music and Woman Reading a Letter in the style of Vermeer; Malle Babbe in the style of Frans Hals; and Portrait of a Man in the style of Ter Borch.
Van Meegeren paints Christ at Emmaus in the style of Vermeer. This fake was preceded by years of research and experimentation by Van Meegeren enabling his success in passing the painting off as an early Vermeer.
Early September: Christ at Emmaus is identified by Dr. Abraham Bredius as an authentic painting by Johannes Vermeer. Bredius writes of his discovery in “A New Vermeer,” Burlington Magazine (November 1937), 71:210–211.
April: Theo van der Pas makes a career move to Brussels to concentrate on solo performing; he brings his wife and children with him to live in the suburb of Etterbeek. A few months later he tours in the Dutch East Indies. By the end of this year Theo had not yet made a complete adjustment to living in Brussels.
18 June: Official delivery of Christ at Emmaus to the Boijmans van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam, purchased with financial donations of the Rembrandt Society, Rotterdam ship owner W. van der Vorm, Dr. Abraham Bredius, and some private individuals in Rotterdam possibly from the local port owners, a wealthy business elite known as havenbaronnen, or harbor barons.
25 June-15 October: Exhibition of Meesterwerken uit vier eeuwen 1400-1800 (Masterpieces of four centuries, 1400-1800) in the Boijmans Museum. The exhibition’s top attraction is Christ at Emmaus.
Summer: Van Meegeren moves to Nice and paints The Card Players and The Drinking Party in the style of Pieter de Hooch.
1 January: Dansschool Breemer-Ertel sends New Year greetings in a small ad that ends with the phrase, in English: “To Keep Fit – Try Dancing.” Het Vaderland, 1 January.
Van Meegeren paints The Last Supper in the style of Vermeer, for which he uses a 17th century work by Govert Flinck, a pupil of Rembrandt, overpainting the Flinck work.
Autumn: Because of the threat of the war, Van Meegeren and his wife return to the Netherlands from France, leaving The Last Supper behind in Nice.
Theo van der Pas and family in Brussels prepare to return home to the Netherlands.
February: Dansschool Breemer-Ertel announces a Carnival masked ball of the Netherlands-Italy Society to take place on 3 February in Scheveningen. The event is under the technical direction of the dance school, Haagsche Courant, 1 February 1940 and De Residentiebode, 2 February 1940.
10 May: The German Army invades Belgium and the Netherlands. The Germans overwhelm the weak Dutch Army. Soon begins the start of the five-year-long German Occupation of the country.
14 May: Rotterdam is bombed by the Luftwaffe, the city center is leveled and the Rotterdam Conservatory is destroyed. Uncontrollable fires consume more areas with great loss of life.
18 May: The occupation authorities issue “VERORDNUNG des Reichskommissars für die besetzten niederländischen Gebiete über die Niederländischen Kulturkammer /VERORDENING van den Rijkscommissaris voor het bezette Nederlandsche gebied betreffende de Nederlandsche Kultuurkamer.” [sic] (REGULATION of the Reich Commissioner for the Occupied Dutch Territories About the Dutch Culture Chamber.) This is the first of a series of bureaucratic pronouncements in the development of the Nederlandsche Kultuurkamer, the Dutch Culture Chamber, which finally comes into being in early 1942. Many if not most in the Kultuurkamer bureaucracy are Dutch civil servants.
Van Meegeren settles in a spacious country villa in Laren, an artist colony not far from Amsterdam.
He remains there until 1943 when he moves to Amsterdam. Van Meegeren paints a second version of The Last Supper and Head of Christ in the style of Vermeer. The Last Supper is painted over Hunting Scene by Abraham Hondius that was bought by Van Meegeren.
Dans-Instituut Breemer-Ertel is listed in a newspaper directory of twenty-four such schools in The Hague, De Residentiebode, 2 November 1940. The Dutch appear to be serious students of dance. How these schools fare under the German Occupation is not known.
23 March: “TOEKOMSTIGE ORGANISATIE DER BEELDENDE KUNSTENAARS. Richtlijnen van het te vormen gilde Rede van dr T. Goedewaagen te Amsterdam. DE OP TE RICHTEN KULTUURKAMER,” (FUTURE ORGANIZATION OF VISUAL ARTISTS. Guidelines of the guilds to form, from the speech by Dr T. [Tobie] Goedewaagen, Amsterdam. THE CULTURE CHAMBER’S AIMS) Het Vaderland, 23 March 1941. NOTE: The headlines use upper case as indicative of an important official announcement.
18 September: This date is the last ad for Dansschool Breemer-Ertel found online, Haagsche Courant. The Breemer-Ertel school continues under the Ertel name. With his wife Mitzi’s help, Jopie Breemer goes into hiding. Although the exact year is unknown many Jews, Dutchand foreign-born, and other resisters go into hiding or decide to do so no later than mid-1942. By hiding Jopie manages to avoid deportation and survive until the war’s end. The full story of his underground existence is not known but credit is given to his wife for her strong-willed commitment to keeping her husband alive. Nothing is known about the whereabouts of the Breemers’ adolescent son Erik and how he survived during this period.
22 October: Jews remaining in the work force now require special work permits.
26 November: The twenty-seven articles enacting the Kultuurkamer are published in Dutch newspapers; full implementation will begin in the following year. This new organization under the German Occupation unmistakably changes the direction, content and composition of the panoply of Dutch culture. No one in the visual arts, performing arts, cinema, radio, theater, music and journalism can continue in their professional activities without applying for membership in the Kultuurkamer through which they are vetted for their Aryan ancestry and political correctness. Jews are, of course, excluded. De Courant, 26 November 1941, page 2.
5 December: All non-Dutch Jews are ordered to register for “voluntary emigration.”
Did Maria Breemer register with the Kutuurkamer to keep the Breemer-Ertel dance school open or did she avoid registration to keep Jopie as anonymous as possible? She may have worked as a dance teacher for an Aryan employer. No evidence has emerged about Maria.
In order to work and support his family, Theo van der Pas joins the Kultuurkamer. The evidence for this are the newspaper accounts and reviews of Van der Pas’s various performances during the years of the Occupation before and after the Kultuurkamer took control. For the Dutch who are able to attend concerts, recitals, art exhibits, films and plays, these provide brighter moments in the dark days of the Occupation. Attendance at all cultural events and lighter amusements soars, often surpassing pre-war levels.
Van Meegeren’s friend and colleague artistm Eduard (Ed.) Gerdes (1887-1945) is named as the head of the guild of visual artists. Gerdes is a Dutch Nazi and virulent anti-Semite who desires to forward the objectives of Hitler’s Germany. Gerdes is very close to the occupation authorities and through them he becomes, in effect, the art commissar of the Netherlands.
Van Meegeren paints a very large portrait in watercolor and pen and ink of pianist Theo van der Pas as he sits at the piano surrounded by the ghosts of seven great composers of the past. This is the best date determined for the origin of the portrait. Van Meegeren paints a portrait of a sometime friend Jopie Breemer. While the portrait has been called “Jopie Breemer as a praying Jew,” it seems most probable that “praying Jew” is nothing more than an obvious description of the sitter wearing Jewish religious garb. Breemer was not known to be religious although his origins were Jewish. It is not certain how the portrait acquired this title. This is the best date determined for the origin of the portrait. However, this could mean that Jopie is not yet in hiding or that Van Meegeren is taking his time in completing the portrait, which may have been begun earlier.
Van Meegeren sells the Head of Christ and the second version of The Last Supper. He also paints Isaac Blessing Jacob; Washing of Christ’s Feet, bought by the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam; and Christ and the Adulteress in the style of Vermeer. The CardPlayers that he had painted earlier is also sold.
8 November-1 December: Exhibition of fifty drawings by Han van Meegeren, at Hotel Hampdorff in Laren. Brief notices appear in De Tijd, 7 November 1941 and De Gooi- en Eemlander, 7 November 1941. A longer and complete signed review appears in De Tijd, 20 November 1941.
3 January: Opening of an exhibition of Van Meegeren’s drawings in Panorama Mesdag, The Hague. Het Nationale Dagblad reviews it with the comment: “vele zijner verbeeldingen zijn nog aan den negatieven kant; d.w.z. zij zijn onvolksch veelal cosmopolitanisch geörienteerd” (Many of his imaginings are on the negative side, i.e. they are mostly unvolkish and often cosmopolitanly oriented.) Quoted in Marijke van den Brandhof. A photo of Van Meegeren and his friend Martien Beversluis at the exhibition is in Frederik H. Kreuger, Han van Meegeren, Meestervervalser, p. 106. Het Nationale Dagblad: voor het Nederlandsche Volk, published 1936 to 1945, is a National Socialist newspaper, the organ of the NSB (Nationaal-Socialistische Beweging) which metamorphosed slowly from several right-wing political movements beginning in 1931 to consolidate finally into the Dutch Nazi Party in 1940, the only political party permitted to exist under the German Occupation. The comment quoted above in Het Nationale Dagblad is clearly a negative political criticism that says Van Meegeren is not sufficiently observant of Nazi racial ideology; “cosmopolitan” was a Nazi racial code word for a Jew.
9 January: There is a signed review of the Panorama Mesdag exhibition in Het Vaderland.
16 February: Theo van der Pas is in Laren at the Hotel Hamdorff to play an evening concert with the Gooi Symphony Orchestra. It is not known if Van Meegeren attends the concert and/or meets Van der Pas this evening.
29 April: Dutch Jews are forced to wear a yellow star on their clothing in public to identify them as Jews.
May: “Volgens de kartotheek van de Nederlandsche Kultuurkamer heeft H.A. van Meegeren geboren 10 october 1889, zich voor het eerst in Mei 1942 en voor het laatst in April 1943 bij deze instelling aangemeld. Hij staat geboekt als lid van het gilde ‘beeldende kunst’.” (According to the card index of the Dutch Chamber of Culture, HA van Meegeren, born 10 October 1889, has for the first time in May 1942 and most recently in April 1943 been logged by this institution. He is recognized as a member of the guild ‘fine art.’) [Het Parool, 27 November 1945. Printed as post-war evidence of Van Meegeren’s collaboration.]
13 June: Start of deportation of Jews from Camp Westerbork where they are taken after their arrest.
14 July: Beginning of large-scale round-ups of Jews ages in Amsterdam. After this date periodic round-ups of Jews in Amsterdam occur through the rest of the year including deportation of Jews from Camp Westerbork eastward to the extermination camps.
24 July: Theo van der Pas is appointed teacher of piano at the Royal Conservatory in Amsterdam, De Courant, 24 July 1942.
Book published: Han van Meegeren. Teekeningen I (Drawings I) by H. de Boer and Pieter Koomen with a forward by E.A. van Genderen Stort. Other contributions include poems by Martien Beversluis, I.P. (Isaäc Pieter) de Vooys and Jan Feith. Included in the book is a reproduction of the Theo van der Pas portrait at the piano. Quite conveniently, Martien Beversluis was also a reader at the Lectoraat – the literature censors of the DVK – Departement van Volksvoorlichting en Kunsten. (See Hans Renders. “Book Production and Its Regulation during the German Occupation of the Netherlands.” Quaerendo, vol.40, issue 3-4, January 2010, p. 35.) The edition’s print run did not seem to be limited by any wartime paper shortage, and the quality of the paper and the reproductions is to the highest standards possible given the wartime circumstances. Undoubtedly, Van Meegeren would have pulled strings himself or someone on his behalf could have done so to overcome the rationing of paper. See René Kruis and Gerrold van der Stroom, “The K Number,” Quaerendo, Volume 40, issue 3-4, January, 2010, pp. 385-408. The article’s abstract reads as follows:
Some books printed in occupied Holland during the Second World War carry a so-called K number. This was long supposed to signify approval by the Kultuurkamer, a ‘wrong’ (i.e. a pro-German or, as in this case, puppet) body that was set up in November 1941 by the country’s German governor or Reichskommissar. It has now become clear that this is incorrect: the K number was in fact introduced in July 1941 as a bureaucratic means of monitoring and controlling the supply and rationing of all printing paper by the Dutch Department of Economic Affairs, and was a consequencem of pre-war Dutch rationing legislation dating from 1939.
Van Meegeren and wife Jo move to Amsterdam into large elegant mansion at Keizersgracht 321. 31
March: the US Army Air Force bombs Rotterdam to deny the Germans the use of the harbor and industrial facilities. The city suffers its second firestorm with high loss of civilian life.
29 September: Final large roundup of Amsterdam Jews; 10,000 are caught and deported, among them members of the Nazi-instituted Joodse Raad (Jewish Council).
5 October: Reichskommissar Arthur Seyss-Inquart outlines the policy regarding Jews still at large.
18 December: Van Meegeren divorces his wife Jo Oerlemans, but this is only a formality. The couple remains together while a large share of Han’s capital is transferred to Jo’s accounts as a safeguard against the uncertainties of wartime. Van Meegeren is attempting to shield his assets from any possible expropriation. If he thinks that Germany might lose the war, then he has much to fear from the victors who would look very closely into his network of German associates – art dealers and buyers – as well as examining Han’s political affiliations, his own artwork and personal wealth.
Christ and the Adulteress is sold to Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering. It is a fake Vermeer by Van Meegeren.
December: In Amsterdam, Germans now target Jewish partners inmixed marriages for deportation.
2 February: Dutch and Portuguese Jews (descendants of 16th century refugees) are deported to Camp Westerbork.
22 February: American bombers accidentally bomb and destroy the center of Nijmegen mistaking it for German territory. As many as 800 people are killed, about the same number as in the German bombing of Rotterdam, and thousands are wounded. Also accidentally bombed by the Americans are Enschede, Arnhem, and Deventer. The Dutch rescued and saved the lives of many Allied airmen throughout the war.
21 July: First of many round-ups in Amsterdam of men (Dutch citizens) for forced labor in Germany.
The people of the Netherlands, especially in urban areas, undergo what is called a “hunger winter” when an especially frigid winter combined with dire food and fuel shortages cause about 18,000 to starve to death. Only in the distant agrarian areas was a bit more food available.
3 March: The Royal Air Force mistakenly bombs the Bezuidenhout quarter of The Hague inflicting a heavy death and damage toll.
22 May: World War II is over. Christ and the Adulteress is discovered by an American army officer responsible for securing Goering’s art collection. The work is traced to Van Meegeren.
At some point Jopie Breemer is able to leave hiding and resume his life.
Theo van der Pas continues with his teaching and performing.
29 May: Van Meegeren is arrested on the accusation of collaboration for selling a work by Vermeer, a part of the Netherlands national art patrimony, to Reichsmarschall Goering.
12 June: After two weeks of imprisonment, Van Meegeren confesses that he is the forger of Christ at Emmaus, the painting sold to Goering, and other paintings.
August to mid-October: As proof of his confession Van Meegeren paints Young Christ Teaching in the Temple in the style of Vermeer before a group of expert witnesses who make attestations of the event to the court.
13 April: Dr. Abraham Bredius dies. His reputation is tattered by his authentication of Van Meegeren’s fake Vermeers.
Van Meegeren is said to make one last portrait of Jopie Breemer, a drawing of Jopie as an “onion porter.” The drawing is owned by Jopie’s son Erik Breemer but an image of it has yet to be found. As of the date of this paper, it is not known who is the owner of the alleged portrait after the death of Erik Breemer.
April: Inez van Meegeren marries Gordon Randall in Utrecht. They go to England to live in Surrey where Inez teaches languages.
14 October: Theo van der Pas’s wife Jacoba van der Pas dies. She is survived by her husband and her two children, daughter Thea and son Wim.
29 October: Van Meegeren’s trial begins. Van Meegeren’s children, Jacques and Inez, and his former wives attend the trial when they can and visit him in hospital.
12 November: Van Meegeren is convicted and sentenced to one year in prison.
30 December: Van Meegeren has a heart attack – the second of two a few months apart – and he dies in the Valerius Clinic in Amsterdam.
26 August: Theo van der Pas and Anneke Hoedemaker marry.
5-6 September: Van Meegeren’s household effects are auctioned in his house at Keizersgracht 321 in Amsterdam – a forced sale by court order to pay back income taxes and make restitution to purchasers of his faked artworks. The portrait of Theo van der Pas is in the house. The portrait of Jopie Breemer is not listed in the Paul Brandt auction catalogue; the whereabouts of the Breemer portrait is unknown at this time.
26 March: Erik Breemer marries Sijtje Gorter, (1910-?) in Amsterdam. Nothing more is known of this marriage. This is her second marriage having earlier divorced in 1950; she has a daughter Irma from her first marriage. Erik Breemer is described in the Gorter Family genealogy as a longarts, or pulmonologist, which is what he is known to be professionally. 1955-1956 Theo van der Pas begins a long farewell tour as he retires from the recital stage. He has other musical involvements in his life but his decision to leave active concert engagement is final.
6 February: Jopie Breemer dies in The Hague and is buried there.
11 November-3 December: Van Meegeren exhibition, Kortrijk (Belgium) Stadsmuseum.
13 December 1961-3 January 1962: Van Meegeren exhibition, Bruges (Belgium) Concertgebouw.
February: After twenty-four years, Christ at Emmaus is exhibited in the Boijmans van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam.
7 September-13 October: Van Meegeren exhibition in the Koningswei, Tilburg.
In a biographical collection assembled by his daughter, the book Arthur van Schendel is published with a portrait of Van Schendel drawn by Jopie Breemer, August 1908, on page 45.
Jo Oerlemans van Meegeren dies in Zwijndrecht, a suburb south of Rotterdam.
26 October: Jacques van Meegeren dies in Amsterdam.
4 December: Anna de Voogt van Meegeren dies in Medan, northern Sumatra, Indonesia.
Gerrit Komrij, now becoming a leading literary figure, poet and essayist in the Netherlands, begins to study Jopie Breemer and his work. It is the beginning of what might be called Jopie’s literary resurrection. Some of Breemer’s poems are included in Komrij’s several anthologies.
Arjen Ribbens publishes his University of Amsterdam doctoral dissertation on Jopie Breemer’s years at the Jopie-hol, the first dissertation on Jopie with reference to Komrij’s work. Ribbens interviews Erik Breemer. Ribbens’ dissertation sponsor is Prof. Enno Endt, the son of Piet Endt, one of Jopie Breemer’s closest friends and admirers.
April: Pauline Hermine (Inez) van Meegeren Randall dies in Surrey, England. Her husband Gordon C.T. Randall and daughter Barbara survive her. The date of birth of their daughter is unknown. However, according to Frederik Kreuger (A New Vermeer, 2010) Barbara married A.D. Martin (year unknown although one possibility is late 1971 according to UK Marriages, 1796-2005) and they had a son, Harry Martin (birth year unknown).
15 June-1 September: Han van Meegeren exhibition at Slot Zeist (Zeist Castle), an elegant 17th century Baroque royal palace of the Dutch monarchy that has been restored for use as a meeting and event venue near the town of Zeist.
Theo van der Pas dies in Amsterdam.
Jopie Breemer’s portrait of Arthur van Schendel appears in a short newspaper article (one of series about literary figures titled “Leven en streven…”): Flor Vandekerckhove, “Leven en streven … Arthur van Schendel,” Het Visserijblad (Bredene, Belgium), 2 August 1991, pp. 42-43.
10 February-2 June:
Han van Meegeren retrospective at the Kunsthal, Rotterdam, includes the forgeries he painted and more than 200 of Van Meegeren’s oeuvre.
9 April-7 July: Van Meegeren exhibition at the Bredius Museum, The Hague.
Gerrit Komrij helps to renew interest in Breemer’s poetry and life in a new edition of Jopie Breemer’s De ontboezemingsbundel, the first since its original publication in 1913; Komrij writes the introduction.
14 October: Erik Breemer is interviewed by telephone during a broadcast on Radio Montaigne for a program segment about his father, Jopie Breemer. No transcript of the program is available although a recording of the proceedings was made.
Christie’s Netherlands offers at auction one copy of the design for the poster of “Theo van der Pas at the Piano” and one copy of the poster itself.
23 December 2003-4 April 2004: Han van Meegeren exhibition at the De Waag Historical Museum, Deventer.
1 September: Van Meegeren’s large-scale portrait of “Theo van der Pas at the Piano” is at Van Stockum Auctions, priced at 10,000 euros.
5 September: Willem (Wim) van der Pas, son of Theo van der Pas, dies in Heemstede.
12 May-22 August: Boijmans van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam, shows an exhibition of Van Meegeren’s forgeries including works in the styles of Vermeer, Frans Hals, Pieter de Hooch and Gerard ter Borch.
5 July: Gerrit Komrij dies in Amsterdam.
19 November: Han van Meegeren’s portrait of his first wife, Anna de Voogt, is listed for auction as Lot #202, priced at 200-400 euros, by Derksen Veilingbedrijf, Arnhem, Netherlands. The portrait is described as a 24×23 cm color drawing. Two other lots signed by Van Meegeren are Sheep with White and Black Lamb, Lot #195, 750-1250 euros, and Christ on the Cross at Golgotha, Lot #285, 1000-2000 euros. The three Lots were exhibited in the 1996 Van Meegeren exhibition in Rotterdam. The catalogue includes a full-pagen biography of Van Meegeren. See Derksen Veilingbedrijf, Veilingcatalogus, November 2012.
Note: The basic timeline of Van Meegeren’s biography and exhibitions used here first appeared in Diederik Kraaijpoel and Harry van Wijnen, Han van Meegeren, 1889-1947. It was used for the timelines at the web sites of Dutch art collector Leon Vosters at: http://hanvanmeegeren.webs.com/tentoonstellingen.htm, and http://hanvanmeegeren.webs.com/biografie.htm.
A partial Van Meegeren genealogy is in Frederik H. Kreuger, A New Vermeer: Life and Work of Han van Meegeren (Delft: Quantes, 2010), pp. 239-240.
The deepest level of biographical detail about Jopie Breemer and his years before World War I derive from Arjen Ribbens, Jopie Breemer en het Jopiehol. Een bijdrage tot de geschiedenis van de Amsterdamse bohème (1906-1914), Ph.D. Diss., University of Amsterdam, 1984. In his review of the new edition of De ontboezemingsbundel in NRC Handelsblad, 16 October 1998, Ribbens mentions “O, hoe zoet is basterdsuiker,” the title of a poem by Breemer and also of a book of poems by Breemer. Bastard Sugar is light brown sugar. It was named such because it is neither granulated white sugar nor is it purely brown sugar; it is an impure, coarse brown sugar made from the leftover syrup of previous boilings; something that is of irregular, inferior, or dubious origin.
To this timeline I have added research from such sources as http://www.worldvitalrecords.com, contemporary newspaper reports, Dutch government sites, libraries and universities, and chronologies of the German Occupation. I have contributed corrections, deletions, and additional references to Jopie Breemer, Theo van der Pas, Han van Meegeren, et al.
C.S. (CAREL STEVEN) ADAMA VAN SCHELTEMA (1877-1924): a well-known poet whose works are still read today in the Netherlands. Despite having been born into a wealthy family he turned to social democracy as the only ethical position he saw possible for himself and for Dutch society. His criticism of Jopie Breemer and his friends as socialists who were talkers and not doers (“parlor socialists”) did not seem to damage the reputation of the Jopie-hol.
MARTIEN BEVERSLUIS (1894-1966): Dutch poet and novelist. He joined the Dutch National Socialist Movement in 1940, the Dutch Nazi Party in 1941, and the Dutch SS in 1942. During his lifetime he had also been a communist, socialist, pacifist, Catholic and Protestant. Beversluis wandered between far left- and far right-wing parties and abandoned religion and then returned to it. He has been described as a hard-core and notorious Nazi. Some of his anti-Semitic poems published in De Kemphaan are quite vicious; elsewhere he repeatedly referred to Jews as “rats;” see Martien Beversluis, ‘De Ratten’ In: De Zeeuwsche Stroom , mei 1942. (“The Rats” in De Zeeuwsche Stroom (The Zeeland Current), May 1942. Here is a brief excerpt with a translation, both from Adriaan Venema. Writers, publishers and their collaboration. Workers Press, Amsterdam, 1989, which is online at the Digitale Bibliotheek voor de Nederlandse Letteren (DBNL):
(The rats. The Jews!
The bread of thy children? What is it to them?
The bread of thy children, they have to gnaw)
ABRAHAM BREDIUS (1855-1946): noted art historian and critic. He authenticated Van Meegeren’s forgeries Man and Woman at a Spinet and Christ at Emmaus as newly discovered Vermeers. He is listed in the militia records for Amsterdam.
JOSEPH (JOPIE) BREEMER (1875-1957): a popular local Amsterdam bohemian who was a poet, artist and actor. He frequented the Haagse Kunstkring, although it is not known if he was a member, and he participated in some of the Kunstkring’s theatrical events. Born of a Jewish family, he survived during the German Occupation in hiding. His poetry has become known once again in the late 20th century through the efforts of Gerrit Komrij (see below). He is listed in the militia records for Amsterdam.
ERIK BREEMER (1926-ca. 2008): son of Jopie Breemer, a medical doctor specializing in pulmonology. He was born in The Hague.
CAREL (or KAREL) HENDRIK DE BOER (1879-1949): artist, art critic and essayist. He wrote several positive reviews and essays in support of Van Meegeren. De Boer was chairman of the cultural affairs division of the fascist National Front party. He was born in the Dutch East Indies; no exact date of his settling in the Netherlands has been found.
ISAÄC PIETER DE VOOYS (1875-1955): mechanical engineer. HBS [high school] Gouda; Delft Polytechnic School; Deputy Inspector of Labour (1896-1911); Professor of Mechanical Technology, Delft University (1911-1917); Director NEMOS (1917-1930); Director, Mining SA (1931-1941) and Director, AKU Arnhem (1930-1941). In 1939 he was named to the cabinet as minister for the economy; his tenure ended with the 1940 German invasion and occupation and he retired in 1941. He was also a poet and published his collected poems in From the Poor (1905), Behind the Mission (1930) and From Threat to Liberation (1946). As a Socialist of sorts he had an early interest in the labor movement. He studied and wrote about the social role of art and involved himself with artists and writers. De Vooys’ portrait by Han van Meegeren is in a private corporate collection and appears from time to time in various publications; it was not included in Teekeningen I. De Vooys’s poem (or a fragment of it) “Werkers der wereld” is paired in Teekeningen I with Van Meegeren’s drawing “Arbeid.” De Vooys’ relationship with Van Meegeren and with the book’s contributors has not been determined. One author writes: “De anti-militarist De Vooys verafschuwde de oorlog en haar veroorzaker het national-socialisme. (The anti-militarist De Vooys hated the war and its cause, National Socialism.) See Henk Muntjewerff, “Tussen Kapitaal en Arbeid, Momenten Uit het Openbare Leven van de Dichter-Ingenieur, Isaäc Pieter de Vooys (1875-1955),” (Between Capital and Labor, Moments from the Revealed Life of the Poet-Engineer, Isaäc Pieter de Vooys (1875- 1955)), Jaarboek de Oranjeboom, 50, 1997, p. 207. However, the observation about De Vooys’ anti- militarism was one that many shared with De Vooys, an attitude that metamorphosed from anti- to pro-militarism as political sentiment in the Netherlands changed over time with the rise of Italian fascism and German Nazism in the early 1920s. The Netherlands was neutral in World War I but not untouched by the heavy influx of Belgian refugees and, by war’s end, by widespread food shortages. The country hoped to remain neutral in any such conflicts later in the 20th century.
E. (ABRAHAM ELIAS JESSURUN) d’OLIVEIRA, Jr. (1886-1944): writer, novelist, poet and psychologist. He was a Dutch Sephardic Jew whose life ended in Auschwitz. His family created a web site commemorating him at http://www.olijfmetperen.nl.
PIET (PIETER) ENDT pseud. EDUARD COENRAADS (1883-1936): a Dutch sociologist, translator and novelist who studied political economy at the University of Zurich earning a doctorate there in 1918. Around 1910 Endt met Jopie Breemer at the ”Jopie-hol,” with evidence being a photo of the two men – Jopie with a beard and Endt sitting nearby – taken at the Jopie-hol. Jopie apparently took the photo himself. From his contact at the Jopie-hol, Endt/Coenraads was involved in furthering the publication of Jopie Breemer’s 1913 book De ontboezemingsbundel. After Jopie left Amsterdam in 1913, Endt tried to keep the Jopie-hol going but he gave up and closed it after a year. From 1920 to 1932 Endt was a teacher at a lyceum and two Hogere Burger Schools. He published several works on sociological subjects, including a textbook Sociology (1931). Using the pseudonym Ed Coenraads he was a songwriter and chansonnier in the Netherlands and made an extensive and successful tour of the Dutch East Indies in 1916. He sang in Dutch, German, French and occasionally in English, and composed his own songs for his cabaret performances. From 1930 to 1936 he was the co-director of the Wereldbibliotheek. Under his own name as well as the pseudonym Herman Fairfax he translated the works of George Bernard Shaw, Friedrich Nietzsche, Gerhart Hauptmann, W. Somerset Maugham and others. As Eduard Coenraads he published two novels, Island of Happiness (1920), a novel of performing artists in the Italian lake district, and Torch Bearers (1923), a novel about the Bavarian Soviet Republic of 1919 in Munich. Endt’s political allegiance was with the Social Democrats; there is a letter signed by members of the Dutch and Flemish literary community for the newspapers stating their opposition to war and militarism. Some people who opposed these twin evils were doing so to maintain the neutrality of the Netherlands in the event of another European war. De Tribune, 20 February 1935. Among the signers was “M. Beversluis.” This was Martien Beversluis who had moved on since the demise of De Kemphaan.
JAN FEITH (1874-1944): a poet and illustrator (especially known as a silhouettist), journalist and outstanding amateur athlete. He was editor of and contributed to De Kemphaan. He is the author of In de Amsterdamsche Jodenbuurt. De Aarde en haar Volken (1907) (In the Amsterdam Jewish Quarter. Its Character and People) with contemporary photographs. The complete text in Dutch and photos are at http://www.gutenberg.org/files/18236/18236-h/18236-h.htm.). The book is a glimpse of the worst misery in which the so-called “Serbian Jews” lived in the Amsterdam ghetto.
EDUARD (ED) GERDES (1887-1945): an artist who became art commissar of the Netherlands during the German Occupation. He was known as a fanatical anti-Semite and a leading proponent of German domination of Europe. He is listed in the militia records for Amsterdam. Early on Gerdes was acquainted with Jopie Breemer well enough to make a portrait of the bohemian artist in 1911. The paths of the two men diverged radically as Gerdes went on to make his own career and ally himself with the far-right-wing political movement.
JOHN RAYMOND GODLEY, 3d Baron Kilbracken (1920-2006): wrote two books about Van Meegeren. The first was the result of an invitation extended to Godley, a London-based reporter, by Anna de Voogt and her children Jacques van Meegeren and Inez van Meegeren to write about Han van Meegeren. The family and friends of Han van Meegeren cooperated with Godley. The book, Master Art Forger. The Story of Han van Meegeren, was published first in London in 1950 and in New York, 1951. Godley wrote blanket dismissals of accusations about Van Meegeren’s alleged collaboration during the Occupation and pro-Nazi leanings – with no discussions of any possible anti-Semitism, which is still an open question when the range of his anti-Semitic colleagues and friends are known. Godley’s book is a reportorial account without the extensive research that came much later as Vermeer researchers and scholars sought to unravel Van Meegeren’s life in order to know as fully as possible what, why and how he had forged so much art.
DR. [CORNELIS] TOBIE GOEDEWAAGEN (1895-1980): a member of the NSB (Dutch Nazi Party). Reichs Commissioner for the Netherlands Arthur Seyss-Inquart appointed Goedewaagen chairman of the Nederlandsche Kultuurkamer (Dutch Chamber of Culture) founded on 22 November 1941.
DIRK HANNEMA (1895-1984): art collector and controversial director of the Boijmans Museum. He was actively pro-German during the Occupation.
GERRIT KOMRIJ (1944-2012): a poet, essayist, translator, novelist, playwright, cultural commentator and poetry anthologist. A weekly radio program devoted to the arts and literature had a segment on Jopie Breemer with interviews with and by Gerrit Komrij and Erik Breemer, son of Jopie Breemer, Radio Montaigne, 14 October 1998. Komrij wrote the introduction to the new edition of Breemer’s De ontboezemingsbundel (1998) and was an ardent champion of Breemer’s poetry. Komrij used Arjen Ribbens’ dissertation about Breemer as the basis for his Radio Montaigne commentary although Komrij had been writing about Jopie Breemer as far back as 1980. He championed and led the revival of interest in Jopie Breemer. Through his efforts Breemer’s poetry came back into public view and his poems are included in several poetry anthologies, among the first of which was edited by Komrij. In 2000, Komrij was chosen Poet Laureate of the Netherlands for a period of five years by a poll taken among Dutch poetry readers.
PIETER KOOMEN (1881-1947): art critic, pro-Nazi journalist and co-author of Teekeningen I. Wrote for an influential art journal. “Pieter Koomen devotes an article testifying to great appreciation of the work of the draftsman Van Meegeren in which he defends his art against various attacks. In particular, he draws attention to the spiritual and visionary in Van Meegeren’s drawings.” The quote is from a review in Maandblad voor Beeldende Kunsten, XIX (1942), pp. 12-18. See also Dagblad de De Gooi- en Eemlander, 21 January 1942. Koomen’s personal archive of notebooks and manuscripts was placed at auction in 2010 by Dutch auctioneer Bubb Kuyper with the lot described as: “Koomen, P. Lot of 18 notebooks, first half 20th cent, manuscript text in pen and pencil, contemp. wr., various sizes. Personal archive of the art critic Pieter Koomen, with numerous quotations, annotations and biographical notes on graphic….” To date, nothing from Koomen’s personal papers has been published or found deposited in a regional or national archive.
BARTUS (BART) KORTELING (1853-1930): a local artist and art teacher who was a great influence on young Han van Meegeren.
REINOLD KUIPERS (1914-2005): a poet, printer, copywriter and publisher. His brother, Abe Johannes Kuipers (b.1918), is an artist and typographer whose art was exhibited and who taught typography.
KLAUS MANN (1906-1949): anti-Nazi German writer and journalist; he fled Germany in 1933 fearing arrest or expulsion. Mann died a suicide in May 1949 after several attempts over a number of years.
MARTIN MONNICKENDAM (1874-1943): a well-known Dutch painter whose art is again being sought after after years of inattention. He was a close friend of Jopie’s and the two traveled abroad together in their younger years. After Monnickendam’s marriage, which Jopie celebrated with other friends of Monnickendam, and with Monnickendam’s burgeoning career as an artist, the two men drifted apart.
“About the Artist
Martin Monnickendam grew up in an Amsterdam liberal Jewish family. After studying at the Royal Academy and a stay in Paris, he returned to the Netherlands. He painted the life of the big city – Amsterdam, Paris – with its busy streets, theaters and shops in a very powerful brilliant impressionist style: heavy canvases with sparkling colors. As for viewing people – the single or group portrait – he is a master. In summer he often wandered about the Veluwe* where he captured landscape and peasant life with a brush or chalk.
During his life Monnickendam was widely known and his work has been exhibited at home and abroad. He received many national and international awards for his work. He was never recognized as belonging at the top rank of Dutch painting. In 1924, the art historian Albert Plasschaert called him a little known painter. After the war he was lost into oblivion until 199 when the Jewish Historical Museum of Amsterdam devoted a major retrospective to him.”
* The Veluwe is a forest-rich ridge of hills in the Netherlands province of Gelderland. The Veluwe features many different landscapes including woodland, heath, some small lakes and Europe’s largest sand drifts
The bio “About the Artist” is taken from the first two paragraphs from the site http://www.galeries.nl/mnkunstenaar.asp? artistnr=11780&vane=1&em=&meer=&sessionti=925855068. Translated by Janet Wasserman.
NESCIO pseudonym of JAN HENDRIK FREDERIK GRÖNLOH (1882-1961): a writer born in Amsterdam, the eldest son of a blacksmith and shop owner and educated at a secular primary school and a three-year high school. From 1897 to 1899 he went to a college-level business school after which he started work as an office clerk in Hengelo, but quickly returned to Amsterdam, where he held a succession of similar jobs. In 1905 Nescio married and he and his wife raised four daughters. Until his death in a Hilversum sanatorium in 1961, Nescio remained in Amsterdam. Grönloh started writing as Nescio, using a pseudonym to keep his professional career and his writing career separate. All his stories bear witness to the conflict between his career and his ideals, as formed by turn of the century utopian socialism. In 1900 he had started a commune inspired by Frederik van Eeden’s Walden commune; the commune was wound up in 1903. He still kept his ideals but was no longer personally involved. Instead he turned to writing, as well as long solitary walks in the countryside around Amsterdam. Not very prolific, much of his writing remained unpublished until after his death and the stories he did publish went out of print quickly. His decision to use a pseudonym did not help in getting his stories published; it is only in 1932 that Nescio revealed his true name. This led to a reprint of the three earlier books – De uitvreter, Titaantjes, and Dichtertje in 1933 – as well as some critical attention. It is only after World War II that he became reasonably well known, though his oeuvre is still small, roughly 160 pages. However, growing critical appreciation led to the Marianne Philips award in 1954, as well as the publication of a new ollection of stories just before his death in 1961. His story De Uitvreter (uitvreter is variously translated as loafer, moocher, freeloader or sponger) has as its main character a sponger – very much the carefree bohemian – known as Japi who befriends and sponges outrageously off an artist named Bavink, named after artist Emanuël Samson van Beever (1876-1912) who eventually settled in Laren and Blaricum. Van Beever has one painting in the permanent collection of the Jewish Historical Museum, Amsterdam. Arjen Ribbens and more recently Ype Koopmans have opened up that chapter of Nescio’s life. Ribbens says Jopie Breemer was Nescio’s model for the uitvreter or bohemian loafer Japi. The name Japi is very close to Jopie so this provides some credence for the belief that it was Jopie Breemer who was the model, albeit transformed into Nescio’s sponger rather that the provider of sustenance and friendship that Jopie was in his Jopie-hol days. Japi is undoubtedly Jopie while the personalities of the the fictional Japi and the real bohemian Jopie are at opposite poles.
PIM POLMAN-TUIN (ca. 1929; still living in 2011): Han van Meegeren’s nephew – son of his favorite sister Augusta (Guusje) van Meegeren Polman-Tuin (ca.1899-?) and her husband Willem Polman-Tuin (ca.1893-?). Pim’s parents married 5 October 1927, which provides some basis for his birth year. He was seen being interviewed on a BBC One program “Fake or Fortune” about art fakery. The episode announcing Van Meegeren’s newly determined fake of Dirk Baburen’s The Procuress along with the interview of Pim Polman-Tuin was broadcast 3 July 2011; Pim Polman- Tuin appeared to be about 80+ years old. He mentioned a portrait of himself that his uncle had painted in about two hours.
JAN CHRISTIAAN POORTENAAR (1886-1958): Dutch graphic artist, graphic designer, painter, watercolorist, draftsman, etcher, lithographer, maker of woodcuts, illustrator, author, and publisher. He was self-taught but received lessons from Piet van Wijngaerdt and Willem Witsen. On his 20th birthday Poortenaar received a Royal Grant for painters, and then followed with exhibitions in Brussels and London. From 1914 to 1922, Poortenaar lived in London where he made his first major etchings of Trafalgar Square and Waterloo Bridge. In 1915 he won the silver medal at the International Exhibition in San Francisco. Poortenaar worked in Amsterdam, Belgium and London until 1922, in the Dutch East Indies until 1924, Bennekom (Ede), Amsterdam in 1939, and in Naarden from 1939 to 1958 where he would publish dozens of books (mostly about himself) under the imprint In The Tower. He made landscapes, oriental scenes, portraits, cityscapes, flowers, still lifes, and bookplates. He wrote books with his own illustrations and translated books and magazine articles. He was a member of Arti et Amicitiae (Amsterdam) and the Hague Art Circle.
ARJEN RIBBENS (b.1957): journalist, editor, commentator and blogger at NRC Handelsblad. His 1984 University of Amsterdam dissertation is the source of much of what we know about Jopie Breemer in Amsterdam’s bohemia in the years before and during World War I. Ribbens’ dissertation was used by Gerrit Komrij for his commentary and interview on the 1998 Radio Montaigne broadcast discussing Jopie Breemer as well as for Komrij’s introduction in the 1998 reissue of De ontboezemingsbundel.
JOHAN STÄRCKE (1882-1917): a pediatric physician who, with his brother, first translated Freud and the Comte de Lautréamont into Dutch. His other literary activities included prose sketches and translations of the poetry of Walt Whitman, which remain unpublished. He and Jopie Breemer were friends at the Jopie-Hol.
FRANS ter GAST (1880-1970): a highly trained artist and designer who was also a well-known silhouette artist; he created the flat cutout and articulated paper puppets used in the art form known as schimmenspel (shadow play). The puppets are held between a light source and a translucent screen and manipulated so that the shadows are projected onto the screen as the audience watches. The puppets move according to the play’s action in the text spoken by the narrator. There is usually a musical accompaniment as well. This popular art form may have originated in Asia and was known in many countries outside of Asia. It had especially broad appeal, and was a favorite and highly sophisticated entertainment form in the Dutch East Indies. He is listed in the militia records for Amsterdam.
H.H. (HANS HEINRICH) THYSSEN (1921-2002): scion of the wealthy Thyssen family and art collector. His art collection formed the original core of the collection of the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid. His ownership of Jopie Breemer’s portrait by Han van Meegeren has never been explained and no facts have been made public about the portrait’s acquisition by H.H. Thyssen and its complete provenance. The subsequent owners are unknown.
JAN UBINK (1884-1960): pro-Nazi editor of De Kemphaan. See: “Met Duitsland Voor Een Vrij Nederland,” (With Germany for a Free Netherlands) Het Vaderland, 31 December 1941. News of Germany at war and mention of Jan Ubink appeared in this right-wing newspaper obedient to the press requirements and party line of the German Occupation authorities. From 1933 to 1936 Ubink was chairman of the Haagse Kunstkring section on literature, theatre and film. He filled that position once again from January to 20 November 1947. Ubink was associated with Van Meegeren as editor of De Kemphaan (The Fighting Cock) from April 1928 to March 1931 – the magazine’s entire life span although some monthly numbers may have been skipped. Although widely claimed that March 1930 was the last issue, the last issue was March 1931 as reported in Het Vaderland, 15 April 1931; Het Vaderland mentioned or reviewed every issue the journal published. The brief article begins: “De Maartaflevering, het latste nummer van den jaargang, bevat het afscheid van Jan Ubink, den leider van De Kemphaan, die, zoo wij het Afscheids word wel hebben begrepen, verder niet meer zal verschijnen. Wat jammer is.” (The March issue, the last number of the third year, includes the farewell of Jan Ubink, the leader of De Kemphaan, which, if we have understood the Parting Word, no further publication will appear. What a pity it is.) This article was found through Historische Kranten, the database of selected Dutch newspapers from 1618 to 1995 digitized for online reproduction at the site of the Koninklijke Bibliothek at http://kranten.kb.nl/. It is possible that some months of De Kemphaan lacked publication and three full years of monthly publication were not achieved. However, only a physical examination of all issues will determine the actual course of each issue’s publication. Ubink shared Van Meegeren’s acid views of art critics and modern art. As for Van Meegeren, who invested his own money in founding the magazine, he was intensely and radically right wing, slipping into a fascist mode of thinking. De Kemphaan mirrors both Ubink’s and Van Meegeren’s political thinking and reflects Van Meegeren’s state of mind during the journal’s three years of publication.
EMANUËL SAMSON VAN BEEVER (1876-1912): an artist born in Antwerp, the son of jeweler. The first four years of his life were lived in Antwerp when his parents decided to move to Amsterdam where Emanuël went to school. After he completed school he was apprenticed to a diamond finishing shop. However, it soon turned out that he did not have much interest in diamond grinding. At an early age he became interested in drawing and painting at which he was very proficient. Initially he studied art in Amsterdam but Van Beever did not feel comfortable there and he stayed away from school taking painting lessons instead from the painter Alexander Tree. From 1894 to 1897 Van Beever attended the Academy of Fine Arts. In these years he lived in straitened circumstances, supported only by a small grant, while his parents lived in London. When his parents became ill Van Beever left for London to take care of them. Two years later, when both parents had died, Van Beever returned to the Netherlands where he later settled in Blaricum and Laren. Van Beever’s paintings included still lifes and scenes of peasant interiors and villages. He received favorable reviews, including in the Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant which wrote of his still lifes: “Van Beever is at this point an admirable talent.” On June 20, 1912, Van Beever died in Laren at the age of thirty-six.
G. (DANIËL GEORGE) VAN BEUNINGEN (1877-1955): a wealthy Rotterdam industrialist who amassed a significant collection of 15th and early 16th century Dutch art. His collection was given to the Boimans Museum in 1958 thus adding Van Beuningen to the museum’s name. Listed in the militia records for Utrecht.
THEO (MATTHEÜS WILHELMUS) VAN DER PAS (1902-1986): well-known pianist and conservatory teacher. He was chair of the music section of the Haagse Kunstkring from January 1947 to 1 August 1952.
E.A. (ELISE AUGUST) VAN GENDEREN STORT (1883-1967): professor at Delft University, 1940-1946, and an engineer specializing in modern steel building construction about which he wrote at least eight books. Van Meegeren painted his portrait in ca. 1943, see Lopez, The Man Who Made Vermeers, pp. 170-171. He was a contributor to De Kemphaan and also wrote the foreword – a biographical essay of Van Meegeren – in Teekeningen I. He is listed in the militia records for Arnhem.
ANNA ZOREIDA DE VOOGT VAN MEEGEREN (1890-1978): Han van Meegeren’s first wife. Little is known about her life after her marriage to Han ended in divorce when she may have left to live in Paris and later in Indonesia with her children. They all returned to the Netherlands and still not much information about her is available. She may have remarried.
JACQUES HENRI EMIL VAN MEEGEREN (1912-1977): only son of Han van Meegeren, from his marriage to Anna de Voogt; also a painter and occasional forger of his father’s art.
JOHANNA (JO) THERESIA OERLEMANS DE BOER VAN MEEGEREN (1886-1977): Han van Meegeren’s second wife; her stage name was Jo van Walraven. She benefited financially from the 1943 divorce-of-convenience settlement that Han arranged to protect his assets. She lived in wealth until the end of her life.
PAULINE HERMINE (INEZ) RANDALL-VAN MEEGEREN (1915-1985). Han van Meegeren’s daughter from his marriage to Anna de Voogt. Van Meegeren painted lovely portraits of his beautiful daughter. Randall was her married name and this was how she was referred to in a newspaper article, “War is de schat van Van Meegeren? Engelese verslaggever graaft in Laren,” (Where is Van Meegeren’s treasure? English reporter-earl in Laren.) Het Nieuwsblad voor Sumatra, 4 December 1948, p. 3. Inez married Englishman Gordon C.T. Randall, was known to have lived in London, and had a daughter Barbara. Gordon Randall was listed as being interviewed about his “late wife” Inez by Frederick Kreuger, Han van Meegeren, Meestervervalser. The date of this interview is unknown. There is a birth entry for Gordon C.T. Randall born in Fulham, England, between October and December 1923; mother’s maiden surname was Collins. If this is the husband of Pauline, he was approximately eight years younger than she.
ARTHUR (FRANÇOIS EMILE) VAN SCHENDEL (1874-1946): one of the Netherlands finest modern novelists. His early life was one of parental loss and financial struggle until his novels began to be noticed. For a while, in the early 1900s, he and Jopie Breemer appeared to have a friendship within the bohemian circle of the Jopie-hol, which led to Breemer’s 1908 portrait of Van Schendel.
LUC (LUCAS) WILLINK (1897-1976): film editor, film director, film critic and film historian, novelist, and poet. He was a film reviewer in the 1920s. Possibly the first and only feature film he directed, De Maarschalkstaf (released 1929), was commissioned by the Central Association of Consumer Cooperatives when Willink was the film critic for the newspaper Het Vaderland. He wrote many popular historical novels from the 1940s to 1960s; a best seller was De Blauwe Smaragd (The Blue Emerald) in 1944, which was widely reviewed in Dutch newspapers. He was a member of the Haagse Kunstkring. In his death notice, De Telegraaf, 8 September 1976, Willink is mentioned as being a Ridder in de Orde van Oranje-Nassau (Knight of the Order of Orange- Nassau), a modern-era order of chivalry founded by the Dutch monarchy to recognize “everyone who has earned special merits for society.” It is not known when Willink was awarded the honor.
PORTRAITS OF JOPIE BREEMER
1908: A.M. Broekman. Portrait of Jopie Breemer. Present owner unknown. ca. 1909: Martin Monnickendam. No date appears on the sheet of sketching paper that contains the 5.08 x 5.08 cm pencil drawing of Jopie. “J. Breemer …” is scrawled across the top third of the page in a different handwriting than that which appears directly under the image of Jopie. In the collection of the Stichting Vrienden van de Schilder Martin Monnickendam.
1910: Jan Poortenaar. “Bohemien (Jopie Breemer),” oil on canvas, 140 x 122 cm. In the permanent collection of the Jewish Historical Museum, Amsterdam. This year is the one given in sources without definitive evidence of such.
1911: Eduard (Ed.) Gerdes made a pencil drawing.
1915: Han van Meegeren. “Talmoedlezer.” (Talmud Reader). In the first public one-man showing of Van Meegeren’s artwork in 1917. Present owner unknown. 1918: Han van Meegeren. “Portret-Studie Jopie Breemer.” H. de Boer. “Nieuew Stroomingen in de Hedendaagsche Schilderkunst.” De Cicerone, 1918, pp. 89-96. The image of Jopie Breemer is on page 90. Present owner unknown.
1941: Han van Meegeren. “Jopie Breemer as a Praying Jew.” Present owner unknown.
1946: Han van Meegeren allegedly makes a drawing of Jopie as an “onion porter” which is said to be owned by Erik Breemer. Since Erik Breemer’s death (year unknown) there has been no further information about this drawing.
The following is a part of an editorial discussion (verbatim) about Wikipedia’s Han van Meegeren article:
Van Meegeren owned no nightclubs
It is extremely unlikely that Van Meegeren “owned nightclubs” when he was arrested. Before the liberation of Holland there was a curfew where nobody was allowed in the streets between 10 at night (sometimes 8 o’clock) and 4 in the morning. And people were starving. What use of nightclubs? After the liberation nightclubs soon appeared but Van Meegeren was arrested within two weeks after the liberation. Moreover, Van Meegeren was extremely rich after all his forgeries, so why exploit a nightclub? The only explanation I can think of is that among the many houses Van Meegeren owned (he invested his capital in houses, stocks, diamonds, etc) one was used after a while as a nightclub. The refence to a nightclub is by Schueller: but this gentleman wrote a study about recognizing the fakes of Van Meegeren, he didn’t make a study of the life of Van Meegeren. The other reference is by Godley who did excellent work when writing his biography. However he never met Van Meegeren personally, so a remark about a nightclub can easily have come to him by way of rumours. … Primasz (talk) 09:31, 25 November 2007.
NOTE: “Primasz” is a name used by Frederik H. Kreuger in his editorial contributions at Wikipedia. He is a noted Dutch researcher who has written several books and articles about Han van Meegeren. Godley wrote his first book about Van Meegeren with the assistance of and interviews with Jacques and Inez van Meegeren and others who knew Han van Meegeren.
In the discussion about the cover design of Teekeningen I (see above page 7 and note 24), a book designer working at that time for the publishing firm L.J.C. Boucher in The Hague was Henri Friedlaender (1904-1996). Young Boucher, known as the “gentleman-publisher,” opened for business in 1932 in his father’s bookstore. The firm survived during the German Occupation by complying with the obligation to register with the newly-created Departement van Volksvoorlichting en Kunsten.
Friedlaender was born in Lyons, France, of a German-Jewish father and an English mother. At a very early age young Henri moved with his family to Berlin where Henri entered the Mommsen Gymnasium to continue his education. Upon graduation, however, Henri chose not to go to university but instead was apprenticed to a Berlin book printer where he learned the trade and studied calligraphy in his spare time. In 1925, Friedlaender entered Leipzig’s Staatliche Akademie für Graphische Künste und Buchgewerbe. After graduation he worked for the wellknown firm Drugulin in Leipzig. He then moved to Offenbach where he found a mentor in the noted book and writing designer Rudolph Koch, who was particularly interested in Gothic lettering. Koch’s influence on Friedlaender was important for the young book designer. (57) Friedlaender moved in 1928 to Hamburg to work for leading publishing firms. He moved around quite a lot afterwards, in what might be called his apprenticeship years, but always worked for leading book publishers and printers wherever he settled. And he continued his studies and private design creations throughout this period on his own time.
In 1932, with Nazi-promulgated anti-Semitism growing rapidly in Germany, Friedlaender fled to the Netherlands. He found work immediately, joining the firm of Mouton and Company in The Hague as a book designer and artistic advisor while also doing freelance work designing books and dust jackets for other firms. In 1933 his association with L.J.C. Boucher began. In 1936 he began teaching typography and lettering in Amsterdam. However, Friedlaender began to see the Netherlands as less safe than he had hoped.
The German invasion of 1940 undoubtedly caused Friedlaender great trepidation but he kept working for Boucher and doing whatever other freelance work he could find. By 1940 he was one of the 15,000 German Jews who remained in the Netherlands after the flood of refugees that began in 1933 receded. In 1940, Friedlaender entered into a civil marriage with a German woman Maria Helena Bruhn (1905-1994) who had been living in the Netherlands since 1931. In 1940, Maria Friedlander asked the Wassenaar township authorities to destroy their marriage certificate, which the township agreed to do. In this way, the German Occupation authorities had no civil marriage record for Henri Friedlaender. (58) Friedlaender obviously did not register with the infamous census of Jewish residents in the Netherlands begun soon after the Occupation, which was a subterfuge used by the Germans for identifying Jews for later roundup and deportation. “Of the 140,00 people who registered themselves with the Germans as being Jewish, 107,000 were deported, of which only 5,500 came back. Approximately 24,000 went into hiding, of whom about 8,000 were caught.” (59)
In the summer of 1942 Friedlaender went into hiding in Wassenaar where, with the help of his wife he survived in their garden shed until 1945, although Friedlaender’s granddaughter says he hid in the house’s attic. (60) In the Burgerlijke Stand (Civil Register) for Wassenaar, Friedlaender lived at the same address in 1940 and 1947 – Hertelaan 7. Maria, who was not Jewish, continued to use her maiden name Bruhn and pretended to be a Nazi sympathizer. Trained as a teacher of rhythmic gymnastics, Maria Bruhn offered gymnastic lessons to German women in her house, all to draw attention to herself and away from her house at Hertelaan 7. In a bit of irony, her husband designed the prospectus for Maria’s course of instruction. (61) Besides her husband Maria Bruhn Friedlaender also hid a number of Jews, some from the resistance, and provided for them out of her earnings. Jolanthe Boucher, wife of L.J.C. Boucher, had become a very close friend of Maria Bruhn Friedlaender. Because Maria Friedlaender had food ration coupons for herself only, Mrs. Boucher brought food to the Friedlander house to help feed Henri and the others in hiding. (62) A noted Jewish artist and art teacher who was saved by Maria was Paul Citroen (1896-1983) who Maria hid in the attic of her house, which may be why Friedlaender’s granddaughter named this her grandfather’s hiding place. On July 7, 1997, Yad Vashem recognized Maria Helena Friedlander-Bruhn as Righteous Among the Nations.
After the liberation Friedlaender left hiding and resumed his profession but he and his wife eventually left their Netherlands home in Wassenaar in 1950 to settle in Israel. By the time of his death, Friedlaender had become an internationally noted book, print, type and graphic designer and educator. He was responsible for the design of a famous Hebrew font called the Hadassah Type, probably the most widely used Hebrew font. Ironically, Friedlaender’s design work on his Hadassah Type continued during his years in hiding. In 1952 he became head of the Hadassah Apprentice School of Printing in Jerusalem. Friedlaender also designed the font for the IBM Selectric II dual Latin/Hebrew Hadar typeball as well as two other Hebrew fonts for IBM – Aviv and Shalom. A set of Hebrew type was donated to Dartmouth College and research at the Dartmouth library proved it to be Friedlaender’s notable Hadassah typeface.
The Boucher firm went out of business in 1982 and an exhibition in 2007-2008 at the Meermanno Museum was dedicated to publisher L.J.C. Boucher. (63) In a review of the exhibition is the following sentence: “Voor deze uitgaven is met de beste typografen, ontwerpers en drukkers rond de Tweede Wereldoorlog samengewerkt. Onder hen Gerrit Noordzij, Henri Friedlaender en Piet Cossee.” (This is where the best typographers, designers and printers around the Second World War worked. Among them Gerrit Noordzij, Henri Friedlaender and Piet Cossee.) Friedlaender may or may not have been the designer of the cover and cover typeface of Teekeningen I as well as of the typeface of the book’s text.
Kreuger says, “Op de omslag van het boek is veel kritiek geweest. Het ziet er nazistisch uit met zijn oud-Duitse letters en een agressief uitziende cijfer 1. Het ontwerp ervan is echter niet van Van Meegeren maar van de ontwerper Friedländer (een joodse vluchteling) die het tegen zijn zin nazistisch moest maken. Vermoedelijk vanwege de autoriteiten die het drukken moesten toestaan, want ook de uitgever, Boucher, stond aan de geode kant.” (There has been much criticism about the book’s cover. It looks Nazistic with the old German letters and an aggressive-looking figure 1. Its design is not by Van Meegeren but by the designer Friedländer (a Jewish refugee) who made it despite its Nazistic look. Probably because the authorities had to allow the printing, because the publisher, Boucher, stood on the good side.) Without stating the source of his information about the Teekeningen I book designer Frederik Kreuger has told only part of the story and leaves a gap in his research about Van Meegeren’s historically accepted hands-on involvement with the book’s cover design. (64)
Finally, what the evidence is that “the authorities” forced book design decisions would seem irrelevant even if there was a specific order (still to be determined) as to “a Nazi appearance” of any given book since Van Meegeren, a Nazi-friendly artist, was probably paying for the book’s production and had connections to overcome paper rationing with his Laren neighbor Ed Gerdes, the Dutch Nazi who ran the art establishment under the German Occupation. (65)
(57) Paul Standard, “Henri Friedlaender: A Koch Pupil Who Brings His Master’s Reflective Spirit to the Dutch Book Arts,” Print: A Quarterly Journal of the Graphic Arts, no. 2 (1947), pp. 15-27.
(58) Philippe Boucher, the son of L.J.C. Boucher, e-mail 1/1/13, in response to my letter of inquiry about the Boucher firm’s archives.
(59) Jewish Situation under the German Occupation of The Netherlands. http://www.humboldt.edu/rescuers/book/Strobos/ Conditions.Holland.html.
(60) “All through the war he was stuck in that attic, sitting and designing that typeface,” Ayala related. “Had he been caught he would have been executed, along with his wife, on the spot,” in Ofra Edelman, “Whose font is it anyway? The battle for Hadassah,” Ha’aretz, July 10, 2009. A printed source says that Friedlaender himself noted that he was in hiding for 1,018 days (approximately two years and eight months) in a Hut or Hütte – a cabin or shed, Kurt Löb, Exil-Gestalten. Deutsche Buchgestalter in den Niederlanden 1932-1950 (Arnhem: Gouda Quint BV, 1995), p. 102.
(61) See Kurt Löb, Exil-Gestalten, p. 101.
(62) Philippe Boucher, e-mail 1/1/13
(64) Frederik H. Kreuger, Han van Meegeren, Meestervervalser, (Diemen: Veen Magazines B.V., 2004); on p.114. “Good side” in this context may mean pro-German or collaboration with the occupation authorities (willing or unwilling) or a similar stance that did not place the Boucher firm under suspicious or in dangerous opposition. Van Meegeren could not be overlooked in approving the design. Leaving his book’s design to others was not his modus operandi as was seen during his days with De Kemphaan. His connection to Ed Gerdes was also important in helping the Boucher firm overcome any paper rationing and getting the official go-ahead to publish. If Friedlaender was the Boucher designer assigned to create the lettering, he may have realized that refusing this design job would have been foolhardy if he wanted to continue working for Boucher under the eye of the Occupation authorities. Moreover, Friedlaender had studied old Germanic lettering with Rudolph Koch, a leading German book and letter designer. That alone would have made him the preferred designer for the book’s cover lettering. That said, only the archives of the Boucher firm would have the definitive answer as to the name of the book’s designer. Two works published in the 1990s about German book designers in exile in the Netherlands, 1930s and 1940s – Kurt Löb, Exil-Gestalten (a thorough scholarly book) and the exhibition catalogue Grafici in ballingschap (both in the bibliography) – include the life and work of Henri Friedlaender during this period but neither mention Friedlaender in association with Van Meegeren’s Teekeningen I. It would have been, of course, a monumental irony that Friedlaender had anything to do with Van Meegeren and Teekeningen I.
(65) “Correspondence between Friedlaender and his friend Reinold Kuipers … dates from this period. Neither book nor letters give any mention of Friedlaender being involved in this publication.” Ricky Tax, e-mail, 22 February 2013. Mr. Tax is the custodian/archivist of the papers of the L.J.C. Boucher publishing firm donated to the Meermanno Museum; he is knowledgeable of Friedlaender’s work and life.
Fontaine, William C. The Hadassah Type at Dartmouth’s Graphic Arts Workshop in Baker Library. Dartmouth College Library Bulletin, November 1991.
Gentleman-uitgever L.J.C. Boucher: Tentoonstelling in museum Meermanno in Den Haag 17 november 2007–2 maart 2008. http://www.meermanno.nl/index/-/p- l.j.c.boucheruitgever.bredevoort204.
Grafici in ballingschap: Henri Friedlaender en Paul Urban. Duitse grafisch vormgevers in het Nederlandse exil, 1932-1950, van 21 maart tot en met 16 mei 1997. Catalogus met een inleiding van Kurt Löb. Universiteitsbibliotheek Amsterdam, 1997. http://www2.ic.uva.nl/uvalink/uvalink15/zicht15.htm.
“Henri Friedlaender.” Posted 24 April 2010 by Steven de Joode, The Library of Curiosities, at http://stevendejoode.com/?s=Friedlaender.
“L.J.C. Boucher – uitgever.” http://www.drukwerkindemarge.org/l-j-c-boucher-%E2%80%93-uitgever/.
Löb, Kurt. Exil-Gestalten. Deutsche Buchgestalter in den Niederlanden 1932-1950. Arnhem: Gouda Quint BV, 1995.
Middendorp, Jan. Dutch Type. Rotterdam: 010 Publishers, 2004.
Middendorp, Jan. “Individualist Alphabets: Hand-lettered book jackets in post-war Holland.”
Neshan, vol.14, Autumn 2007. http://www.neshanmagazine.com/articles.asp?id=156.
Museum Meermanno. http://www.meermanno.nl/index/-/p-l.j.c.boucheruitgever.bredevoort204.
Renders, Hans. See Main Bibliography for entries under Renders.
Standard, Paul. “Henri Friedlaender: A Koch Pupil Who Brings His Master’s Reflective Spirit to the Dutch Book Arts.” Print: A Quarterly Journal of the Graphic Arts, no. 2 (1947), pp. 15-27.
“Tentoonstelling Drukwerk Friedlaender; Firma Boucher alhier.” Het Vaderland, 28 February 1933.
Veerman, Leontine. “Hadassah-letter kwam tot stand in tweegesprek.” Nieuw Israelietisch Weekblad, 11 March 1994.
http://www.cultuurarchief.nl/literatuur/actueel/actueel091.htm. Review of Museum Meermanno exhibit on L.J.C. Boucher in 2007
In attempting to clarify the assertion on page 9 and in note 27 by Leon Vosters that Van Meegeren paid Germans to free Jopie Breemer, I suggest that the source of that claim may be the writer Marie-Louise Doudart de la Grée. Following is the quote and the note citation found in Arjen Ribbens:
“Gedurende de oorlog bleef Jopie binnen. Als gemengd gehuwde en door intensieve bemoeienis van zijn vrouw, bleef hij van deportatie gevrijwaard. De dansschool , die openbleef, stond op haar naam. Han van Meegeren heeft beweerd dat hij Jopie, die ter elfder ure tijdens de oorlog uit zijn schuilplaats zou zijn weggehaald, weer vrij heeft gekregen doordat hij bij de Ortskommandant een graag geziene gast was. (66)
Van Meegeren was een graag geziene gast van de Ortskommandant, ‘niet on een slokje met hem te drinken maar om tegen sieraden, drank of een door hem geschilderd portret joodse vrienden die waren opgapakt weer vrij te krijgen.’ (67)
(During the war, Jopie stayed inside [hidden]. Because it was a mixed marriage and with the intensive involvement of his wife, he remained immune from deportation. The dance school, which remained open, was in her name. Han van Meegeren has claimed that Jopie who would be taken away from his hiding place during the war was freed at the eleventh hour because he [Van Meegeren] was a welcome guest at the Ortskommandant [German commander of local German Occupation forces].)
Van Meegeren was a welcome guest of the Ortskommandant, ‘not to drink a sip with him but against jewelry, liquor or a portrait painted by his Jewish friends who were arrested to get free again.’)
NOTE: Jopie was in danger of deportation despite his “mixed marriage” since he was racially 100% Jewish under the Nurenberg Racial Laws which were everywhere enforced under Nazi Occupation. It was most likely Jopie’s wife who kept him hidden until the liberation of the Netherlands. The dance school had been called by both hyphenated names. The Breemer was probably dropped to avoid any attention to Jopie since he was no longer seen at or involved in the dance school.
Who and where was this Ortskommandant? Jopie was hiding in The Hague. Did Van Meegeren approach this officer in The Hague? There is no corroborating evidence, only an assertion allegedly made by Van Meegeren to Doudart de la Grée. According to Frank Wynne, I Was Vermeer, page 207, Doudart de la Grée was a close friend of Van Meegeren’s.
(65) Prof. Hans Renders says: “I really don’t believe Friedlaender did that cover and in my research … I never saw a document that indicates there were rules for producing books with Nazi appearance. De Arbeiderspers did on purpose the opposite and Nazi publishers didn’t need a document ‘from above’ to do so.” Hans Renders, e-mail, 26 March 2013.
(66) Arjen Ribbens, Jopie Breemer en het Jopiehol, in Jopie’s biography that comprises Ch. 2, on page 24, note 108.
(67) Ribbens, 98n108: Marie-Louise Doudart de la Grée, Het Fenomeen: Gedramatiseerde Documentaire over Het Leven Van De Kunstschilder Han Van Meegeren [The Phenomenon: Dramatized Documentary of the Life of the Artist Han van Meegeren], Omniboek, 1974, page 62.
ADDENDUM D: TIMELINE FOR HAN VAN MEEGEREN AND JOPIE BREEMER MEETING
Han van Meegeren was born in 1889, Jopie Breemer in 1875. Jopie set up the Jopie-hol in 1906 in Amsterdam and after several moves Jopie ultimately left Amsterdam and the Jopie-hol in 1913.
In 1907 Van Meegeren was sent by his father to Delft to study architecture. During the following years, Van Meegeren was in school, graduated, got married (1912) and moved with his wife to his wife’s grandmother in Rijswijk, had his first child (1912), finished a course in drawing (1914) and then moved with his family to Scheveningen. At the time Scheveningen was a local fishing village, near the outskirts of The Hague, turned into a seaside resort area. To get from Scheveningen to the center of The Hague would have taken Van Meegeren about twenty minutes on local transportation.
In 1913 Jopie left Amsterdam to live in the The Hague with his new wife. In 1914 the Jopie- hol, first opened in 1908 or 1909, disappeared from Amsterdam with Jopie now living away from it. It is possible that the young Han somehow visited the Jopie-hol, but given that Han was still under the control of his father who was paying for his education until Han reached his majority, his freedom to roam and explore was greatly restricted. Of course, Han may well have fabricated his whereabouts for his father and done as he pleased. Yet again, there is no solid and incontrovertible evidence that Van Meegeren ever visited the Jopie-hol.
In 1915, Van Meegeren’s daughter is born in The Hague; Van Meegeren makes a drawing “De Talmud-lezer” (The Talmud Reader) which appears to be Jopie Breemer at about age forty.
In 1917, Van Meegeren has his first solo exhibition, in Kunstzaal Pictura, The Hague. This exhibit includes the 1915 portrait of the “Talmud-lezer.”
In 1918, Van Meegeren produces a “Portret-Studie” of Jopie Breemer.
In 1919 Van Meegeren is accepted as a member of the Haagse Kunstkring. There is no definitive corroborating evidence of how and when Van Meegeren and Breemer first met but it is unlikely that it was at the Jopie-hol in Amsterdam. It is more likely they met somewhere in The Hague and the likeliest venue for such a meeting was the Haagse Kunstkring.
In 1921 Van Meegeren and Jopie travel for three months together through Italy.
My reasoning for this conclusion – the two men meeting only ca. 1914/1915 – is based on the life circumstances of the two. Breemer was fourteen years older than Van Meegeren and traveled in different circles. Van Meegeren was under the guidance of his father, a tense and unrewarding relationship, until Han married while Breemer was an older and independent adult and somewhat footloose. Van Meegeren had married and had a child (about one-year-old or less) by the time that Breemer married. We know for certain that both men were living in The Hague in 1915, Jopie having arrived in 1913. Van Meegeren moved to Scheveningen ca. 1914 and was very likely ready to explore the offerings of The Hague. Given his 1917 exhibition, Van Meegeren would have been eager to become a member of the Haagse Kunstkring
I hereby give my express permission to ROB SCHOLTE to reproduce online my article “Han van Meegeren and his Portraits of Theo van der Pas and Jopie Breemer.” Kindly note that the article carries the author’s copyright and was originally published at http://www.janetwasserman.com.
s/ Janet I. Wasserman, New York, New York, USA