About the artist

Johan Coenraad (Jan) Altorf was a Dutch artist, born in The Hague in 1876(-1955)as the son of a carpenter. After taking a position of apprentice at a chair maker´s he must have proven skill in cutting and carving and it was in this place he must have learned to carve and cut furniture ornaments.

After his education Altorf started working as a sculptor of stone, wood, ivory, ceramics and bronze. He soon started to capture the eye of later maecenas H. P. Bremmer and the friendship of the two meant a massive stimilus for Altorfs fame. Collaborations with architects as H. P. Berlage, Jo Limburg, J. Lourijssen and A. J. Kropholler were not uncommon and major collectors such as Kröller-Müller soon were known to purchase his work directly from him.

In his work a certain vision on the concept of shape is remarkable. Parts of subjects are often being analyzed on their own and a final design by Altorf will be reduced to the parts which, from the artist's perspective, give expression of the essence of the subject. This often resultes in a heavily stylized design that lends itself perfectly for decorative works and Applied Arts. Altorf's style manifests most prominently in depictions of animals, although objects as portraits and furniture are known of his hand. His work can be found in many Dutch collections as of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, the Kröller-Müller Museum and the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum.