(b The Hague, 18 Aug 1871; d Amsterdam, 19 Oct 1934). Dutch
printmaker and painter. He trained at the Academie voor Beeldende
Kunsten in The Hague, where he subsequently taught graphic art
(1893–1911). In 1911 he succeeded Pieter Dupont as professor in
graphics at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam under the directorship of
Antoon Derkinderen. In the early years of his career Aarts produced
some paintings using the pointillist technique, mostly landscapes
(The Hague, Gemeentemus.); he also carved some sculptures in wood.
He is, however, best known for his graphic work. In technique and
subject-matter, his prints have a great deal in common with those of
Dupont. As the latter’s successor he devoted himself to the revival
of engraving, which his predecessor had reintroduced; his own
experiments in this medium (in particular his scenes with diggers
and beggars, all c. 1900) are considered milestones in early
20th-century Dutch printmaking. He also applied his skills to
etching, lithography, woodcutting and wood-engraving; of the latter
his Dance of Death series (c. 1915–20) is particularly well known.
His subject-matter varies, from scenes from the lives of ordinary
people to themes from literature and the Bible. An almost complete
collection of his prints is housed in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam,
and the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague holds some of his paintings.
Langs de weg Houtgravure
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