Hein von ESSEN

Hendrik von Essen, better known by the first name of Hein was a Dutch artist, despite his German-sounding name. He was born on 11 April 1886, in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia. Like his father, Hein became a civil engineer, which he studied at the Polytechnische School Delft. While he seems to have received his education in the Netherlands, he resided in Indonesia at least from circa 1916 to 1921 where he was active as an engineer and architect. After contracting malaria he returned permanently to the Netherlands and to have pivoted towards the fine and performing arts circa 1922. He first started to draw and then turned his attention to printmaking, studying etching with Johannes Daniël Scherft (1891-1969). He also started designing masks, influenced by Indonesian motifs for his second (of three) wives, Arendina (Dini) Bergsma (1897-1933), who was a dancer. During World War II Hein von Essen helped to found two artist organizations. Because of his resistance work with the Nederlandsche Kultuurkamer von Essen was jailed. He was released due to a bout of tuberculosis which permanently damaged his health. He died July 7, 1947.
Hein von Essen is known for his acerbic images, which comment on the darker sides of society and the characters that inhabit it. His satirical etchings can tend to the symbolistic and the work of Jan Toorop, just as easily as they can remind James Ensor and his Rembrandtian linework. Influences from Java and social realism are also on display in certain compositions.

Dream of Worship

Dream of Worship


Droom der Aanbidden (original Dutch title) Etching and aquatint printed on thick tan wove paper.Two states, one without the background of the sun’s...

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