Enter Alexander Ver Huell’s World Of Pain And Nightmares – 19th Century

Ver Huell believed that "an artist has a social function: to fight against Evil" and that "[t]rue artists were misunderstood and persecuted"

The artist Alexander Ver Huell (7 March 1822 – Arnhem, 28 May 1897) is best known for his sketches, illustrations and cartoons, often directed at the life of university students in Leiden in his native Netherlands. He used the pseudonym O.Veralby – if you say it quickly it sounds like overal bij (present everywhere) in Dutch. But he also drew macabre visions of battles between good and evil.


Alexander Ver Huell (1822-1897), ‘eene aangezichtspijn-phantasie’, from ”Ze zijn er”, 1864-1887

Paul K has selected these of Huell’s work that “edge towards the macabre and fanciful rather than the majority of his sketches, which are far more benign, contemporary and humorous.

Ver Huell had been a law student at Leiden University which became the focus for a lot of his drawing, even after he completed his degree and subsequent doctorate. Humorous designs for University publications were the foundation of his career and led to book and magazine illustrating assignments. By 1850 he was a well known and respected artist.

As he grew older, however, Ver Huell experienced a change in his personality in which he became more paranoid and socially alienated and his sketches veered away from the whimsical to concentrate on depicting evil and devils. He believed that “an artist has a social function: to fight against Evil” and that “[t]rue artists were misunderstood and persecuted”.

Despite his evolving psychiatric problems, Ver Huell maintained close associations with the artistic community both in Holland (where he also tutored art students) and in France, which he visited often. He could count the famous French book illustrator, Gustave Doré, among his long term friends and correspondents.

Via: Memory of the Neth

Alexander Ver Huell (1822-1897), ‘Finis Coronat Opus’, from ”Zie daar!”, 1878

Alexander Ver Huell (1822-1897), ‘Zelfmoord’ (Suicide), from ”Scherts en ern

Alexander Ver Huell (1822-1897), ‘Tafeldans’ (Table Dance), from ”Ze zijn er”, 1864-1887

Alexander Ver Huell (1822-1897), ‘nacht voor het examen’, from ”Eerste en laatste studentenschetsen”, 1882

Alexander Ver Huell (1822-1897), ‘Na de Vischpartij’ (After the Fishing Party), from ”Zie daar!”, 1878

Alexander Ver Huell

Alexander Ver Huell

Alexander Ver Huell (1822-1897), from “Afspiegelingen” (Reflections), 1884

‘Fataliteit’ (Fatality), from “Afspiegelingen” (Reflections), 1884

‘De Wachter Aan Onze Grenzen’ (The Guardian To Our Limits/Borders), “Afspiegelingen” (Reflections), 1884

‘Is ‘t waar of niet?’ – Frontispiece to Truth or dare?

Alexander Ver Huell Alexander Ver Huell

Alexander Ver Huell

‘Licht and nacht’, from “Is ’t waar of niet” (Is it true or not), 1855

Alexander Ver Huell

“Schetsen met de Pen” (Sketches With My Pen), 1853

Via: Memory of Netherlands


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