Dutch painter Dirk H.W. Filarski on 10 October…

Dutch painter Dirk H.W. Filarski on 10 October 1955 (5 days before his 70th birthday)

Dirk Herman Willem Filarski (Amsterdam, 15 October 1885 – Zeist, 28 February 1964) was a Dutch painter belonging to the Bergen School.
Dirk Filarski was born on 15 October 1885 in Amsterdam as the youngest of four children of Herman Filarski and Catharina Mulder. 

In 1901 Filarski was enrolled as a pupil of the Arts and Crafts School Quellinus Amsterdam, a practice-oriented artistic education. In his studies, Filarski made friends with whom he would maintain intensive contacts for years. Among them are Germen de Jong, Arnout Colnot, Tjerk Bottema, Dirk Smorenberg, Matthieu Wiegman and Wim Schuhmacher.

In 1908, Filarski, Smorenberg and Colnot exhibited at an exhibition of Sint Lucas in Amsterdam. In 1909, Filarski at Sint Lucas showed landscapes he had painted in the surroundings of the Gelderse Renkum (including ‘Buckwheat-toppers for a farm in Renkum’). The exhibitions had attracted the attention of the Amsterdam businessman and art collector August Maschmeijer (1848-1922). Maschmeyer allowed Filarski and Colnot to settle in Bergen. In 1910 they exhibited in the building ‘Artibus Ingenius Sacrum’. The works shown, mainly landscapes, were painted in the style of luminism.

Filarski stayed between 1912 and 1917 for longer periods in Switzerland and Italy (Lago Maggiore). In 1913 he returned to the Netherlands by the death of his mother. After her funeral, he worked for some time in Drenthe. In 1915 and 1916 he was working in Amsterdam, Bergen and Schoorldam. In 1917 he wandered through the Bernese Oberland and painted dozens of mountain landscapes in which dark colors became more dominant compared to the works from the period 1912-1914.
After 1923, Filarski gradually worked with lighter colors. He traveled extensively to the south of Europe, where he painted in Menton and Roquebrune. In 1925 the Filarski family lived in Tourettes-sur-Loupe, where paintings were created with lots of green, yellow and light brown hues. With Matthieu Wiegman, Filarski traveled through Tuscany to Rome in 1925 and in November of that year the restless Filarski worked in the French Collioure.

In 1927 the second son Gerard was born. The family had meanwhile moved to the house that had been built for Charley Toorop and that was called ‘De Vlerken’ (at the Buerweg in Bergen). Filarski worked a lot in Limburg that year and painted ‘View of the church of Gulpen’ and ‘De varkensmarkt’. Apart from the Boendermaker, his work was also bought by the Amsterdam dentist Victor de Munck.

In 1927, 1928 and 1929 Filarski traveled through France. The robust way of working with large monumental surfaces was abandoned and more attention was paid to detail in the treatment of the subjects. Filarski’s patronage Boendermaker had been hit by serious financial problems due to the stock market crash of October 24, 1929, and from 1931 he could no longer provide Filarski and other painters with a monthly fee. It did not prevent Filarski from painting between 1929 and 1930 in Morocco and Paris and in 1932 and 1933 respectively in Venice and Spain. To ensure a regular cash flow, Filarski gave his paintings in lease purchase.

At the end of 1933, Filarski divorced his wife. He was assigned the education of the children by court order, but due to his frequent absence the children experienced a difficult time after the divorce.

Filarski also continued to travel after the divorce. He worked with Willem Schumacher several times in Spain. There, in 1935, a number of faces arose in Teruel. One of them was awarded the golden Arti medal. In 1936 and 1937 he worked for months in Italy and Yugoslavia. The famous bridge of Mostar was put on the canvas several times.

Traveling around Europe was hardly possible during the war period. From Amsterdam, where Filarski settled in 1936, he painted in various villages and towns in the Netherlands, including Staphorst and Giethoorn.

Willy, Filarski’s ex-wife, was arrested in August 1942 in a raid and deported to Auschwitz. She did not survive.

In 1946 Filarski traveled to Norway where he painted a number of landscapes in light colors. In 1947 he married for the second time. He married Lien Smorenberg, the widow of the violinist Nico Ebels and the sister of his friend. The couple were almost constantly traveling in France and Spain during the first years of their marriage. Lien died in 1956.

In the period 1950-1960 Filarski made many gouaches. This technique was more suitable for someone who was almost always on the move, because less had to be dragged with material (cloth and easel). His gouaches, including landscapes, still lifes and animal motifs, were strikingly colorful and, from an artistic point of view, formed a new phase in his art.

Filarski died on February 28, 1964. He left an extensive oeuvre. He belonged to the most important Dutch luminists and he was part of the core of Bergen School.