September, 2013. An envelope arrives for us from my wife’s grandmother. In it is a news clipping from Het Vrije Volk, a Netherlands newspaper, in title now defunct. The subject is Mar Diemel (1903-1983), painter, artist, teacher; my wife’s relation on her colourfully Dutch side. Much is, can, and hopefully will be written about the artist – his broad and prolific and skilled output – and I’d like, at some point, to add my own words to the history: his illustrator’s hand and portrait-maker’s eye resonating with, and inspiring, my own observing of the world.
A scan of the original article is below, with the reverse thrown in for good measure – and good measure of the times.
Here, though, is a transcription of Ria’s meticulous, smartly hand-written translation. Her end-note I’ll open with here:
This probably happened in about 1969 or 1970, at the age of his (Mar Diemel’s) retirement.
ARTIBUS BOSS BECOMES OFFICER
‘You have brought Artibus to great fruition,’ so said the mayor of Utrecht, Mr C J A de Ranitz yesterday afternoon in the Noord-Brabant hall, in the farewell speech for Mr Diemel, the Artibus director. And he pinned up the shining medal which belongs to the officership of the order of ‘Oranje-Nassau’, to the rather festive Artibus director.
Mr Diemel becomes Building Director and Governing Body Advisor of the Academy which will shortly be moving to a new building.
The function of Teaching Director has been taken over by Mr. O. Kerssen.
Around this exchange of directors, a small leaving party was organised, although Mr Diemel does not leave Artibus altogether.
Special speakers dug deep into the past. Among others, alderman H van der Vlist told us about the difficulties he had in 1946 to try and get some finances for Artibus. He had to gainsay objections such as they draw naked models, and they draw on Sundays!
Artibus originated in 1938 when some enthusiasts formed Artibus meetings in a small attic. Two years later the artist Diemel was requested to give drawing lessons and take over the running of the project. Artibus is a real academy falling under Higher Occupational Teaching.
As a kind of present for Mr Diemel, the leadership management have founded an Artibus fund where the best student of each of the four categories will get a bursary of 500 guilders. The choice will be made under the leadership of Mr Diemel.
To give him a present to take away, the manager handed Mr Diemel four books about painting.