Theo Van HOYTEMA
The youngest of eight children, who lost both parents while still in childhood, Theo Van Hoytema received his first drawing lesson from an older sister.
As a young man, he studied finance, but he rejected the conventional life after passing the exams and decided instead to become an artist. He began by taking drawing classes at the Royal Academy of Art, where he sketched the taxidermied birds and animals at the Rijksmuseum van Natuurlijke Historie in Leiden.
By 1890, he was experimenting with lithography and had received a commission to create scientific illustrations. His sensitive eye and powerful sense of design, his modern compositions with painterly, gestural forms brought him several illustration commissions. In addition, his affinity for birds is striking; he rendered them as the central actors of a magnificent universe. Unfortunately, his tremendous talent came with a fragile constitution. Between 1904 and 1905, he was hospitalized and given extensive psychiatric treatment. He then went to live with his sister in The Hague. While he was no longer able to live independently, he was still a powerful creative force.
During this time he became quite famous. His calendar illustrations especially brought him great commercial success. In 1923, a few years after his death, a street was named to honor him. In 2009, a monument was added to celebrate his creative legacy.