Saturday, January 23, 2010

George van Raemdonck : his Character Heads and Cartoonal

A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with Ronald Vanoystaeyen, organizer of the George van Raemdonck Cartoonal at Boechout, Belgium. Ronald told me with passion the history of the cartoon contest and told me about the notable artist George van Raemdonck who lived in Boechout. His organisation (IHA) just issued the book 'Boechoutse Koppen' in which the story of van Raemdoncks life in Boechout is told. The artist enjoyed living in Boechout as witnessed by the beer mats he filled with caricatures of the regulars in the pub of Jos Verbruggen, on the corner of his street which was George's local, where he drank his pint(s) in the evening. The book shows 250 of his caricatures drawn in his beloved pub.

George van Raemdonck (1888 - 1966) is considered by many as the artist who introduced comics to The Netherlands. The Belgian-born artist had to flee to Holland because of war problems in 1914. In the same year, he started to draw political gags for magazine De Amsterdammer. The writer A.M. De Jong was impressed by the work of van Raemdonck and asked him to illustrate a children's book. In 1920, Van Raemdonck made the switch from De Amsterdammer to De Notenkraker and until 1936 he kept drawing political gags and covers for this magazine.
Meanwhile, in 1922 George van Raemdonck became one of the first Europeans to draw a daily comic strip. Between 1922 and 1937, the text-strip 'Bulletje en Boonestaak' appeared 4,428 times in the daily newspapers Het Volk and Voorwaarts. Besides this classic and wildly popular strip, Van Raemdonck also created some other lesser-known comics, like the text-strip 'Appelsnoet and Goudbaard' and 'Tijl Uilenspiegel'.
During his career, van Raemdonck published thousands of political gags, illustrated 81 books and created many paintings. He died January 28, 1966 at the age of 78.
(source: / IHA)

In January 1933 Hitler is sworn in as Chancellor.
From then on van Raemdonck starts a battle against fascism with his pencil.In 'De Notenkraker' (The Nutcracker) appear regular anti-fascist pieces.
- De Notenkraker - cover 1933

The George van Raemdonck Cartoonal is organized every 3 years. Last edition, the 11th was in 2008. The thema was TASTE and FLAVOUR (smaak in Dutch). Here are some pictures out of the catalogue:

catalogue cover

Pawel Kuczyncky - Poland

Stefaan Provijn - Belgium

Gie Campo - Belgium

Cizmazia Karol - Slovakia

Thanks to Ronald Vanoystaeyen.

Learn more:
International Humour in Art (
George van Raemdonck Kartoenale 2008 - awards

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