The Wandelgek (as a Librarian and admirer of Fairy Tales, Legends, Sagas, Epic Stories, Fables and also of Classic Children’s books (and their illustrations)), has been an admirer of the work of the illustator Anton Pieck for a very long time. Because of that, he decided to travel through The Netherlands in 2017 and follow into the footsteps of this great artist. This blog tells the brief life story of Anton Pieck and it it is illustrated with lots of pictures mainly made in the summer 2017.
Anton Pieck: His life
Anton Franciscus Pieck (19 April 1895 – 24 November 1987) was a Dutch painter, artist and graphic artist. His works are noted for their nostalgic or fairy tale-like character and are widely popular, appearing regularly on cards and calendars. He is also famous for making the designs of the fairy tale forest in Dutch theme park De Efteling.
Anton Franciscus Pieck was born on 19 April 1895 in Den Helder in the Netherlands. He was the son of Henri Christiaan Pieck and Petronella Neijfs, and twin brother of the painter and illustrator Henri Christiaan Pieck. Pieck married Jo van Poelvoorde (died 1983) in 1922. The couple had three children, Elsa, Anneke and Max (died 1986).
Between 1912 and 1920 Pieck was an art teacher at the Bik en Vaandrager Institute in The Hague. He took the same job at the Kennemer Lyceum in Overveen, where he worked until 1960. From the 1920s on he became well known for his book illustrations, which among others where published in the Dutch children’s magazine Zonneschijn. Some of these were presented in a text comics format. His most famous book illustrations were Grimm’s Fairy Tales and Arabian Nights. Pieck was furthermore a painter of nostalgic 19th century city scenes and winter scenes, which are still popular to this day as images on greeting cards and calendars.
Some books from my own collection, about or illustrated by Anton Pieck
The drawings in these many books were the inspiration for themepark The Efteling’s fairy tale forest, but also for the Anton Pieck style shops, and the diorama.
From 1952 to 1974, Pieck was responsible for designing almost everything for fairy tale park Efteling in Kaatsheuvel, now one of the major theme parks in Europe. His work for the Efteling has been of huge importance for the future of the park, since almost all later designers used his graphic characteristics in their designs (such as materials, colors and shapes).
He made loads of drawings depicting the many iconic fairy tales that were build based on those drawings. See more of that in the blog series I’m writing about the Fairy Tale forest, in which I rewrite well known fairy tales into new often more gruesome versions. See: Fairy Realm (Dutch: Marerijk)
…and the Efteling Museum
The Efteling Museum was opened in 2003 in the Efteling theme park in the North Brabant town of Kaatsheuvel on the renovated and expanded Anton Pieckplein. The museum, located in the former workshop of the Design and Development department, houses old ornaments, statues and attributes of the park. For example, the first original flying fakir can be seen, the talking floor plan, the first witches that were on top of the entrance gate to the Fairytale Forest and many tens of molds of heads.
Many of these attributes were stored for years in the catacombs under the Phantom Lock. At the moment, all Efteling attributes not exhibited in the museum are in the basement under Vogel Rok (Translated: The Bird named Rok).
Another part of the museum focusses on the technique behind the animatronics and it shows e.g. sound machines, speakers, tape recorders etcetera…
The museum also has a part in which designs by Anton Pieck and later designers are exhibited. The pics below are from that part of the exhibition.
The exhibition is periodically adapted to a specific theme or anniversary.
The Pardoes Promenade
The Pardoes Promenade at the Winter Efteling in 2017 was decorated with these awesome 3D Drawings of Anton Pieck
The Anton Pieck Square
When looking through books with drawings and paintings of Anton Pieck, we see a romanticized version of our reality. The houses are a bit crooked and the narrow, winding alleys are full of cozy book stores, drugstores, toy stores and sweet shops.
The store windows are a delight for our eyes and so much inviting us to step in and loose ourselves in the delights of this world that it is no wonder that The Efteling was designed by this illustrator. Not only the Fairy Tale Forest, also the magnificent Anton Pieck Square was of his design and it is a delight to enter this world filled with those inviting stores and stroll over the square between numerous carousels…
The Anton Pieck Diorama at the Carousel Square
At the Carousel Square is a large heavily ornamented building containing a Steam Carousel, it used to have a huge Water Organ Theater and the Anton Pieck Diorama, which is a landscape where trains drive through, completely based on this beautiful Anton Pieck drawing:
The diorama was recreated from this drawing and the lights simulate day and night:
Anton Pieck was also creative outside of The Efteling theme park. Of course he was already well known for his books well before he started on the Efteling project, but there is more…
The Autotron Building in Drunen
In 1972 Anton Pieck designed the classic car museum “Autotron” in Drunen. After the museum collection relocated to Rosmalen, the building has been used as a cultural centre housing a broad range of activities, including theatre, restaurants, music school, and club house for the elderly. The building’s name was changed to “De Voorste Venne“.
Some details and a drawing that might have inspired those:
The building, which was being renovated at the time when The Wandelgek visited, is shown on these pictures…
The Anton Pieck Museum in Hattem
In 1984 the Anton Pieck Museum was opened at the Achterstraat in Hattem. The museum is called “Huis voor Anton Pieck” (“House for Anton Pieck”). It exhibits various art works by Pieck and some of the tools he used.
The museum Exterior
Apart from the beautiful Anton Pieck like look of the house and the courtyard, there is actually an element in the courtyard that was recreated from one of Piecks drawings. It is the well.
Anton Pieck at work
The museum collection