The art of Willem Arondeus, 1894–1943


Salomé (1916). “Your eyes are like black holes burned by torches in a Tyrian tapestry.”

This marvellous Salomé design is by a Dutch artist I hadn’t heard of before, Willem Arondeus, who might have had a longer career had his life not been cut short by a Nazi firing squad in 1943. Arondeus helped with the Dutch Resistance during the war, forging papers for fleeing Jews, and bombing the Amsterdam Public Records Office. His work warrants a place in the ever-popular gay artists archive not for any homoerotic qualities but because Arondeus was open about his homosexuality for his entire life, his last message to the world being “Let it be known that homosexuals are not cowards.” The work that can be seen online is in that hybrid style that you see a lot from the 1920s on, a blending of the prevalent Art Deco manner with some hangover from the Art Nouveau period. The Salomé piece is particularly good for the way it entangles Salomé’s figure in writhing foliage and clustered architecture.


De Elfenzetel (1919).


Stamp advert (1923).


Calendar design (1929).




Brieftelegrammen (1937–38).


Stamp advert (1938).


The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (no date).

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The gay artists archive
The Salomé archive

One thought on “The art of Willem Arondeus, 1894–1943”

  1. Fascinating work. You’re right about the peculiar blending of Art Nouveau and Art Deco tendencies in the 1920’s, and I believe you’ve featured some excellent examples in the past; but a few of these reproduced illustrations make a case for pure Art Nouveau at a fairly late date; Arondeus may be “the last Art Nouveau illustrator”.

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