Johan Thorn Prikker

(Den Haag 1868-1932)

The Dutch painter Johan Thorn Prikker was influenced by the artist of the symbolism Jan Toorop. His style development, however, began with realism, taking the work of the artists from the Hague School as an example. The Hague influence on the artist is not surprising, since he was born in The Hague in 1868 and went to the Hague Academy from 1883 to 1887. He looked a lot at the work of Breitner. His style changed through his meeting with Toorop and his growing interest in the Flemish masters of the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. Religious themes are often discussed in his oeuvre. He also became interested in the emerging Japanese wood carving art, just like many artists' contemporaries.

According to Thorn-Prikker, the artist had a social task. In 1895 he decided to make his art in the service of the people. Together with the befriended architect Henry van der Velde, for example, he realized villa ‘De Zeemeeuw’, in which Van der Velde acted as designer and Thorn-Prikker took care of the decorations. This is a good example of so-called community art, where - according to the principles of Art Nouveau - art is used for the benefit of society. This can be seen as a reaction to industrialization, where machines were seen by some as a threat to the authentic craft. From 1910 the artist focused on large glass paintings with which he made a name in Germany. In the last years of his life he lived and worked in Germany and taught at various art academies.