Reserved - Albert Pieter Hahn, On The Way To Work

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An early 20th-century oil on canvas depicting an older man walking to work by Dutch artist, Albert Pieter Hahn (1877-1918).

In the foreground, a figure is stooping with a heavy case slung over his right shoulder. He’s walked this track for many years with his trusty dog by his side.

While in the background, an old gasworks is gently illuminated under a purple sky - the clouds are breaking at first light, creating an unusual mood.

Albert Pieter Hahn was a Dutch political cartoonist, poster artist and book cover designer - well known for his anti-capitalist views. He’s considered to be the greatest political illustrator that Holland has produced and his oil paintings are particularly rare.

He grew up in a working-class family that lived close to the poverty line and he encountered several bouts of ill health during his childhood. This adversity seems to have stirred his admiration for the working classes, which in turn led to his political activism later in life.

Hahn believed that art should be enjoyed by everyone so he sought to create illustrations that were easy to understand. This approach, coupled with his witty observations, resulted in a broad range of commissions from various newspapers, magazines and private companies. His work during World War I was particularly poignant.

This piece seems to capture Hahn’s spirit and epitomise the respect he had for the everyday working man. It’s signed in the lower right and housed within a gilded foliate frame.

Medium
Oil on canvas
Overall size
25” x 22” / 63cm x 56cm
Year of creation
1916
Provenance
Germany
Condition
Artwork in good condition. Frame with some minor losses.