Thursday, October 10, 2013


L. J. Jordaan (1885-1980) was a powerful graphic artist and political cartoonist in Amsterdam for the magazine, Green.  He drew a biting series of anti-Nazi cartoons during the 1930s.  After the Nazis invaded the Netherlands, they promptly shut down his magazine but Jordaan continued working underground and for alternative publications.



Dictating to the newspapers (wearing handcuffs) about what they can print.
Ridiculing Nazi efforts to portray Amsterdam painter Rembrandt as part of the Aryan tradition
Stealing into the Netherlands by the back door...

As the tide turned against the Nazis later in the war,  Jordaan gleefully recorded their misfortunes:

In the end, Germany lay in ruins and Green published the following illustration of "the hangover of Brunhilde," the German valkyrie who had become drunk on Nazi lies.  The collar on the cat in the window says "retribution. "

Note the graves on the hill.

In addition to his job as a political cartoonist, Jordaan was a journalist and a musician.  After the war he changed careers and became a well known film critic.

I think his images, drawn in the face of political opposition, were strong and evocative.  His work deserves a broader audience than it has had. 


Blogger kev ferrara said...

Agree. These are great.

10/10/2013 11:17 PM  
Blogger Joss said...

Stunning. Off to google now to find more.

10/10/2013 11:54 PM  
Anonymous MORAN said...

Never heard of him but he's really good.

10/11/2013 3:07 AM  
Blogger António Araújo said...

Much thanks for this one!

10/11/2013 7:20 AM  
Blogger Peter Van Belle said...

The cat has a special significance. The Dutch word for a male cat is "kater", a synonym for a hangover.

10/11/2013 11:04 AM  
Blogger Richard said...

Excellent find!

10/11/2013 2:13 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Kev Ferrara, MORAN, Antonio Araujo and Richard-- Glad you react to these the way I do.

Joss-- If you find a decent source for high resolution Jordaan images, please let us know. I found a few Netherlands sites, enough to let me know that he was prolific, but not many were well reproduced. These were all from a memorial edition of Green magazine printed in 1946 after the Nazis had cleared out of Amsterdam. These are only half of the Jordaan drawings in the magazine.

Peter Van Belle-- Thanks very much for helping us with the iconography; it really adds something to these drawings. For example, in the picture of the soldier breaking into the house, I understand the pattern on the curtain is the crest of the royal family at the time of the invasion. Any more tips for us?

10/11/2013 5:54 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

Wow, nice strong clear drawings, was he professional trained? Did he stop drawing after the war?

10/13/2013 8:03 AM  
Blogger Richard said...

>Did he stop drawing after the war?

After the war he shifted his career into film criticism.

> If you find a decent source for high resolution Jordaan images, please let us know. I found a few Netherlands sites,

Even on the dutch web he's hard to find. It looks like "Leo Jordaan" is also an actor in Harry Potter, so that kills a lot of the image results.

I did find one cool picture by him.

10/14/2013 11:24 AM  
Blogger Tom said...

So he just stopped drawing altogether and just did film criticism? Wow!

10/15/2013 8:09 AM  
Anonymous Ind Batik said...

Good pictures

10/15/2013 4:07 PM  
Anonymous Sean Farrell said...


10/18/2013 10:29 AM  
Blogger Laurence John said...

there's always something seductive about propaganda art... something naive and utopian.

10/18/2013 3:31 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

Have you seen Bansky selling his art in central park?

Check his website out, " museum quality audio guides."

10/18/2013 8:47 PM  
Blogger chris bennett said...

Laurence wrote: "There's always something seductive about propaganda art... something naive and utopian."

Yes, I find that too. The good stuff at least. It's why I like a lot of that communist sculpture of heroic stylised figures.
"All them cornfields and ballet in the evening."

10/19/2013 10:26 AM  
Blogger Alfie Gallagher said...

These are great. Full of righteous anger and gleeful ridicule. Thanks for bringing them to light.

10/23/2013 11:39 AM  
Anonymous Cheap Oil Paintings said...

Amazing work,love it.

11/04/2013 12:23 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home