Boy Ten Hove's Caricatures Drawings of Jazz Musicians 1935-1940

By Pointon, Mike | IAJRC Journal, August 2007 | Go to article overview

Boy Ten Hove's Caricatures Drawings of Jazz Musicians 1935-1940


Pointon, Mike, IAJRC Journal


Boy ten Hove's Caricatures Drawings of Jazz Musicians 1935-1940 Edited by Ate van Delden Published by Aprilis 2006 (360pp)

Quality cartoons of jazz musicians have always been in short supply. One particularly remembers the outstanding work of Gene Deitch in America and in the UK such fine talents as Wally Fawkes ('Trog') and Diz Disley. In Holland, Berend 'Boy' ten Hove was certainly in that class and developed a completely unique style that somehow echoes the tradition of art deco. Having attended the Art Academy in Amsterdam, he became an avid jazz collector and, starting in the early 30s, supplied stylish illustrations for such publications as De Jazzwereld in Holland and Rhythm in the UK. This sumptuously-produced hardback celebrates his work.

The detailed preface informs us that ten Hove 'did not make his caricatures in one single style. His output ranges from quite sketchy to highly detailed, from line drawing to shaded portrait, from nature to caricature' and the selection assembled here reflects these varied approaches.

In 1938,ten Hove's superb portrait of Clarence Williams was included in Rhythm and he stated his method. 'You know I don't make my cartoons from a single photograph. I use as many as I can find of the same man, and extract from them the man's outlook and character. And don't think that I like to work only from studio photographs. If I can get hold of shabby snapshots I work with these as well'.

The almost iconic and deceptively 3-dimensional Williams image has since been used many times but one wonders what references ten Hove had to work from since photos of such musicians as Williams were hard to come by in Europe at that time and as far as we know the artist never visited the States. Each drawing shares a double-page spread with an English-text summary of its subject's career and this is a joyous browse.

In 1936 ten Hove produced a magnificent cartoon of King Oliver ,which was reproduced in Swing Music in Britain and must have been one of the earliest examples of the pioneer's talent being recognised.

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