Boechout, October 1914: George van Raemdonck, is one of the 1 million Belgian refugees that escaped from the war and went to the Netherlands. He did have family in the Netherlands and so he did have to go to a refugee camp. At first he was one of those, invisible, refugees, but he soon became one of the most important cartoonist and comic strip artist of his time. A lot of publications refere to George Van Raemdonck as the ‘Ambassador of the Flemish cartoon art’.
Now 100 years later, vzw IHA and the history circle of Boechout, do organise an exhibition about the life and work of their great artist.
Allready in November 1914 George did organise his first exhibition in Bloemendaal and shortly after in Amsterdam. .
His first cartoon was published in ‘De Amsterdammer’ on the 6th of December 1914: ‘De Nijvere Bertha’ (The industrious Bertha). From then on he weekly published a cartoon in this newspaper. As a Belgian refugee he was strongly opposed to the occupation of his country and so the war theme was one of his major topics. He draw about the trenches, the electronic wire between Belgium and the Netherlands, hunger, the Zeppelin bombings of Paris, … and the peace conference in Stockholm.
When, after the war, George van Raemdonck returns to Belgium he concentrates on portret painting. As he said it himself: ‘drawing is a job, I did it for living. But painting, that is true art’. Most people in Boechout do remember him also for the caricature portrets he made on beer cards of the people of Boechout in a local pub.
George van Raemdonck did collect all his cartoons of the Amsterdammer, now these works are resambled (almost as a copy of his collection book) in the catalogue ‘The first cartoons from George van Raemdocnk’
More information on the exhibition and the book you can find on: http://www.iha.be