Comic strip by Pieter Hermanides

Pieter Hermanides was a Dutch painter and artist, known for his watercolored pen-and-ink drawings with a fascination for the human brain and surrealist imagery. He was also active as a cartoonist, contributing to newspapers, literary magazines and pop culture publications.

Early life and career
Hermanides was born in 1932 in a Reformed Christian working class family from Amsterdam. The son of an ambulance driver, Pieter was an intelligent kid, who liked to read, draw and listen to jazz and blues music. As a youngster, he already began building his ever increasing collection of LPs and books. He grew out into a self-willed and rebellious kid, who liked to engage in provoking discussions with his Sunday school pastor. His military service cut his stint at the arts and crafts school short. Back in civilian life, Hermanides settled in Rotterdam, where he held several "normal" jobs before finding employment with the well-known Amsterdam-based ceramist Lucie Bakker. He worked in her workshop for ten years, until a disagreement ended their association. From then on, Hermanides was an independent fine artist, supported by the Dutch BKR subsidy program for artists.

Artistic life
A free creative spirit and a deep thinker, Hermanides was averse to the financial and social aspects of his artistic career. As a result, he lived in the limelight, making meticulous ink drawings and watercolors, fuelled by his own thought process and the human mind in general. As his obituary in newspaper Trouw described the artist on 5 August 2019, Hermanides "rather travelled inside his own brain" than go on a holiday. Despite his reclusive nature, the artist was an active member of the Amsterdam artistic societies De Keerkring and Arti et Amiticae. His work was featured in several of De Keerkring's collective expositions in the Amsterdam City Museum, and he was a driving force behind Arti's magazine De Maatschappij, which he made together with graphic artist Wim Compier. Together with fellow artist Karel Meijers, he also made his own magazine, De Kunstliefhebber.

Cartoons
His cartoons and comic strips appeared in several cultural magazines of the 1960s and 1970s, ranging from Avenue Literair (supplement of the glossy magazine Avenue) to the alternative papers Hitweek and Aloha. Between 1968 and 1974, he additionally contributed to Delta, a "review of arts, life and thought in the Netherlands", and the literary magazine Soma. Later in the 1970s, he also contributed to Hollands Maandblad and newspaper Trouw. According to a 1974 overview catalogue of Dutch comic artists, his story 'De Draak van Bociti' was published in a comic book, but no further information about this particular publication is known. In 1972, artwork by Hermanides was part of the 'Van De Beesten Af' exhibition of contemporary art, and featured in the accompanying catalogue. During the late 1980s, he made the slightly absurd illustrations for the philosophical column 'Humeuren en temperamenten' by Dutch poet Gerrit Komrij in Vrij Nederland magazine. His mix of surrealist narratives and the Clear Line drawing style reminds of the work of Glen Baxter and the Dutch outsider cartoonist Mark Smeets. Notable examples are his refined, allegorical drawings about Arti et Amicitiae in 1989, in which he portrayed the judging, opening and furnishing of the Salon in a comical way.


One of Hermanides' drawings about the Arti et Amicitae Salon in 1989.

Final years and death
Suffering from bad health since age 55, Hermanides became more and more reclusive in old age. He spent most of his time in his atelier, aptly called De Geheime Kamer ("The Secret Room"), making drawings, paintings and the occasional song and poem, amidst countless newspaper clippings, art magazines, drawings and curiosities. Highlight of the day was his collection of the daily 'Heinz' strip by Windig & De Jong in newspaper Het Parool. Pieter Hermanides passed away in Amsterdam on 22 June 2019, at the age of 87.

A selection of his drawings from the period 1972-2001 was collected posthumously in the self-published book 'Pieter Hermanides Tekenaar' (2020), compiled by Jacques van Alphen and the artist's wife Leonoor Hermanides-Willenborg. Pieter Hermanides was the father-in-law of the editorial illustrator Claudie de Cleen.


Self-portrait.

www.pieterhermanides.nl

 

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