Peter van Straaten

Life Dates:
b. 1935
Artist Biography:
Peter van Straaten (1935) studied at the Kunstnijverheidsschool in Amsterdam. He has worked at Het Parool as an illustrator of feature articles since 1958, and has drawn illustrations and political cartoons for this newspaper since 1983. From 1968 onwards, his political cartoons are published in weekly magazine Vrij Nederland. The comic Vader & Zoon (Father & Son), which he has drawn for Het Parool since 1968, holds a special place in his work. He has produced drawings about daily life for the newspapers Het Parool, De Gelderlander, De Leeuwarder Courant and the Nieuwsblad van het Noorden. He is also a regular writer of plays and prose, such as the adventures of Agnes, which he documented for Vrij Nederland. Besides commissioned work, including designs for advertising, Van Straaten has produced work independently, such as the series of erotic drawings that have been published in the collections Aanstoot and Nastoot; he has also published erotic drawings in the magazines Humo and Penthouse. Peter van Straaten is a highly productive artist, who can produce up to five publishable drawings a day, although they are often preceded by several sketches. His work is characterised by his scratchy drawing style, in which shading plays an important role. He views his own style as one from the nineteenth-century, in reference to the drawing style of American artist Charles Dana Gibson (1867-1944), of whom he is a great admirer. His early work was influenced mainly by Ronald Searle, with subject matter similar to the work of Jo Spier. The ‘life sketches’ by author Simon Carmiggelt, whose work he has illustrated, also clearly relate to the subject matter of Van Straaten’s work. He regularly produces series of drawings with a single theme, like the aforementioned erotic cartoons or the series Het Literaire Leven (Literary Life), which he publishes in Vrij Nederland. In 1983, Van Straaten was awarded the Stripschapprijs, and in 1994 and 1997 he won the Inktspotprijs for best political cartoon of the year. In 1996, he was awarded a royal decoration. Peter van Straaten lives and works in Amsterdam.

Related object

A Boy And His Tree(Een Jongen En Zijn Boom)