Han Wezelaar


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Henri Matthieu (Han) Wezelaar (Haarlem, November 25, 1901 – Amsterdam, July 21, 1984) was a Dutch sculptor. He is considered an important representative of modernism. From 1918 to 1922, Han Wezelaar attended the National School of Arts and Crafts, encouraged by the painter Herman Kruyder. There he was taught by Willem Retera and later on private lessons by Johan Polet. On July 27, 1923, he married classmate Margaretha Wilhelmina Visser. They left for the French Collioure where Wezelaar was inspired by the Mediterranean light. After about a year, the couple left for Paris, where Wezelaar worked for three months in 1925 in Ossip Zadkine’s studio; he was Zadkine’s first student. Wezelaar introduced Zadkine’s work in the Netherlands and soon the house of the Wezelaars in Paris became a meeting place for other Dutch artists who wanted to look across the border.

In 1929 his artistic thinking changed. He met Aristide Maillol, Charles Despiau and Adam Fischer. They were all more focused on classicist sculpture and Wezelaar stopped abruptly with his expressionist Zadkine style. In 1933 Margaret gave birth to a daughter and the following year the family returned to Amsterdam for financial reasons. With an exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum a few years earlier, Wezelaar had already demonstrated his qualities in the Netherlands and an exhibition in 1935 was a success. His French style shook the established sculptors awake; they still worked in the style of the Amsterdam school, full of socialist symbolism. Wezelaar became the foreman of the movement that wanted to separate the image from the lofty symbolism and construction sculpture.

The number of assignments increased and he was selected for the world exhibitions in Paris (1931) and Brussels (1935), for the Venice Biennale in 1936 and 1938, and for the Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco in 1939. In addition, he was, also in 1939, co-organizer of the first Rodin exhibition in the Netherlands.

(Source: https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Han_Wezelaar)