Theodorus van Hoytema (1863-1917), better known by his shortened first name Theo, lost both of his parents in the 1870s.  His interest in drawing was awakened by his eldest sister, but likely out of necessity, he took an office job out of high school.  While working in Leiden he also continued his study of drawing at the Royal Academy of Art.  After being given some scientific illustration commissions, van Hoytema became interested in lithography and soon started to illustrate books and other publications.  By the early 1890s his career was launched.  He quickly made a name for himself depicting nature, animals mostly, in which birds are central figures of most compositions.  Theo van Hoytema seems to have been restless, marrying then divorcing, moving from town to city and back again, and he was sickly, apparently spending much of 1904 and 1905 in and out of hospital.  By 1905 and through the end of his life, he lived in Den Haag (The Hague) with his sister.  Van Hoytema was a prolific artist, who is today remembered for charming annual calendar illustrations which he produced in color lithography.  His fine art lithographs are elegant, and his compositions both in black and white, and in color, are strong and balanced.

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