Haan, Meijer de

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HAAN, MEIJER DE (also Meijer Jacob, Meijer Isaac ; 1852–1895), Dutch painter. De Haan was born in Amsterdam, where his father ran a flourishing biscuit factory. After having initially joined his two brothers in the family business, Meijer started studying painting under the Dutch academician Petrus Franciscus Greive from 1870 on. Because of his poor health, he was not able to complete his artistic education. During this period he worked in a somewhat academic style, painting portraits and choosing some Jewish subjects as well, as in The Talmudic Dispute (1878) and Dietary Laws (1880; also referred to as Is This Chicken Kosher?). Deeply disappointed by the poor response to his major opus, Uriel d'Acosta, on which he struggled for 10 years, he left for Paris in 1888 together with his student J.J. Isaacson. Through Vincent van Gogh's brother, Theo, Meijer de Haan met Gauguin, whom he accompanied to Brittany in 1889, where they worked together for almost two years in Le Pouldu and Pont Aven. De Haan became Gauguin's faithful student, making it possible for his idol to carry out his artistic experiments without disturbance by supporting him financially. Although he himself was influenced by Gauguin's synthetic style and incorporated some of his motifs and arrangements, De Haan adhered to his own inclination towards contrast of light and darkness and true-to-nature colors. When Gauguin wanted to take his friend on a journey of adventure to Tahiti, De Haan's family intervened and threatened to stop his allowance if he continued his association with Gauguin. In 1890 De Haan returned to Amsterdam and, after a short stay in Paris eventually settled in Hattem, Netherlands, in 1891. Until recently little attention was paid to De Haan beyond noting that his pathetic likeness appears in several of Gauguin's works, but research has revealed De Haan as one of Gauguin's most talented disciples. His works figure in several museum collections, e.g., the Jewish Historical Museum, Amsterdam; the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam; The Kröller Möller Museum, Otterlo, Netherlands; Musée de Beaux-Arts, Quimper, France; and several important private collections.


J. Zürcher, Meijer de Haan's Uriël Acosta (1888); W. Jaworska, in: Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek, 18 (1967), 197–225; E. Zafran (ed.), Gauguin's Nirvana, Painters at Le Pouldu, 18891890 (2001).

[Jelka Kröger (2nd ed.)]