Cartoon by Johan Braakensiek
Cartoon depicting the British queen offering chocolate to her soldiers. Tommy Atkins (slang for a common soldier in the British Army) answers: "We are very gratefull, your majesty! But we'd rather have one sip from uncle John's barrel. When a Brit sees whisky..."

Johan Braakensiek was a painter, graphic artist, and one of Holland's foremost cartoonists of the first half of the 20th century. He was born Johan Coenraad Braakensiek in Amsterdam as the youngest of ten children. His father was the map draughtsman Albert Braakensiek. He had his first job as a pattern draughtsman in a handicraft shop at age 15, and took evening courses by church painter B.J. Tetar van Elven. He subsequently attended the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, where he was a pupil of painter David Bles.

Cartoon by Johan Braakensiek

Braakensiek began his career as a book illustrator. He made illustrations for several books by Justus van Maurik, starting with 'Uit het volk' in 1879. He also made well-documented drawings for 'Vaderlandsche geschiedenis' by Pieter Louwerse and the books by captain Frederick Marryat, but he is probably best-known for his illustrations for the children's book 'Uit het leven van Dik Trom' by C. Joh. Kievit. He also joined his brother Albert as an illustrator of crimes and accidents for Het Geïllustreerde Politienieuws.

Dik Trom by Johan Braakensiek
Dik Trom

It was Van Maurik who brought him to De Amsterdammer, the magazine he would draw for from 1886 until 1931. Braakensiek established himself as one of Hollands best political cartoonists with his weekly lithographs for the magazine. His drawings were printed as separate supplements, and were regularly hung in Amsterdam cigar shops and coffee bars. His 25th and 40th anniversaries with De Amsterdammer were celebrated with special issues devoted entirely to him.

Cartoon by Johan Braakensiek
Cartoon from 1912. Portrayed is Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies Alexander Willem Frederik Idenburg (1861-1935), who finds a Chinese braid in his rice. Idenburg says: "What is this? Hair in the rice?" Insulinde (a Dutch nickname for Indonesia) answers: "Wild hairs, toewan bezaar!" During Idenburg's reign (1909-1916) Chinese riots broke out in Batavia, Surabaya and Rembang, which had to be subdued by the military.

By 1931, Braakensiek's drawings were deemed too old-fashioned for the magazine that was now called De Groene Amsterdammer. He was fired in July of that year, and replaced by the more modern Leendert Jordaan. The pension of the old master was paid by the paper's editor and co-owner Maurits Kann from his own pockets, since it wasn't provided by the publishing house.

Johan Braakensiek spent his final years in retirement, and passed away in Amsterdam shortly before World War II. He was the grandfather of Jan van Oort, a.k.a. Jean Dulieu, the creator of 'Paulus de Boskabouter'.

Cartoon by Johan Braakensiek
Cartoon satirizing England's battles against local Dutch colonists in the South-African republic Transvaal during the Boer Wars (1899-1901). The bearded man in the hat is British Prime Minister Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, who tells his child, Minister of Colonies Joseph Chamberlain, not to poke the lion (South African president Paul Kruger), because "he broke out of his cage before." In the end South Africa would indeed become independent. 

Drawings by Johan Braakensiek at Het Geheugen van Nederland

Series en boeken door Johan Braakensiek op voorraad in de Lambiek Webshop:

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