Henri Boot (1877-1963) Gentleman and teacher
February 17th - July 3rd, 2018
“He is unwashed, his clothes are dirty and torn, his fingernails are filthy. And even so, as unlikely as it seems, he is a total gentleman.”
Barend Rijdes, 1963
Sage of the 20th Century Haarlem School. This erudite and willful painter grew up in a well-to-do family and enjoyed a traditional education. His passion for art grew strong during his study of Latin and Greek at university.
Henri Frédéric Boot became a conventional painter who sought to understand and capture the reality of everyday life. The craftsmanship of painting is central to Boot’s work as is his fascination for the simplicity of folk life. He believed that a good artist does not belong to the elite but is a craftsman who toils in poverty until his work is completed. Boot actively participated in many artists guilds throughout his lifetime in order to support the interests of other struggling artists. His circle of friends included prominent 20th century Dutch writers and artists such as Godfried Bomans, Lodewijk van Deyssel, Harry Mulisch and Mari Andriessen.
Despite his wealthy upbringing, Boot chose for the life of a pauper. He spent almost a half century living in squalor at his house and atelier on the Klein Heiligland street in Haarlem. He was teacher to many artists of the Haarlem School including Otto B. de Kat, Poppe Damave and Wim Steyn. Boot’s influence is the most visible in the work of artist Kees Verwey. Although very impressed with Boot’s lifestyle, housemate and fellow artist Anton Heyboer didn’t care for his painting style.
This exhibition highlights Boot’s extraordinary life. His works as well as those of his pupils are on display.
In cooperation with the Guild of Haarlem, Museum Haarlem is organizing several walking tours on February 23, March 18, April 13 and May 27. Portrait Painting sessions for young and old and various lectures are coming up as well.