Gerrit Willem Dijsselhof (1866 – 1924), was a Dutch painter heavily involved in the arts and crafts movement.
Born in Zwollerkerspel, Dijsselhof studied first at the art academy in The Hague, then moved to Amsterdam in 1884 to follow lessons at the arts and crafts school there. He was an enthusiastic member of the Natura Artis Magistra, a members only zoo.
In 1882, the “Artis” installed an aquarium & Dijsselhof became fascinated with it, perhaps obsessed. He’d go there every single afternoon after his studies at the Arts & Crafts Academy & spent countless hours studying the hypnotic movements of the fish, their textures, the curious abstractions of the water, the way they shoaled and moved together. This other world became his world.
Initially Dijsselhof began sketching and painting the fish in watercolours. He then moved on to oils, producing canvas after canvas. From 1897 he worked on furniture design for the firm E. J. van Wisselingh & Co, Amsterdam. He married the textile artist Willy Keuchenius.
Today his work is sought after by a small base of collectors who happily pay sums up to €20,000 at auction in order to possess one of his unique aquarium oil paintings.
Fish & aquariums weren’t Dijsselhof’s only subject matter, just his principle & favourite one. Here are some of the lithograph “tribute” studies he made of the Circus Carré: