Henry Van Raalte Biography

Henry Van Raalte




Henri Benedictus Van Raalte known as H. van Raalte, was born in London, England on February 11, 1881 to Dutch parents. He was educated at the City of London School, at the Royal Academy schools, and later in Belgium and Holland. In 1901 he was elected an associate of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers, and in the same year had a picture hung at the Royal Academy exhibition. In 1902, at age 21, there were full-page reproductions of an etching, and a dry-point by van Raalte in Modern Etching and Engraving, published by the Studio at London,


In 1910 he immigrated to Western Australia and founded a school of art at Perth. He specialized in etching and aquatint, often using Australian gum trees for his subjects, but it was some time before his work became known in the eastern states. He had an exhibition of his work at Perth in 1919, which was followed by another at Adelaide. In 1921 he was appointed curator of the art department at Adelaide, and in 1922 his title was changed to curator of the art gallery. He resigned in January 1926 owing to differences of outlook between him and the board of governors.


Van Raalte then established a studio at Second Valley, South Australia, and lived there for the last three years of his life. Suffering from  depression van Raalte was otherwise in good health, and it was intended that he should hold an exhibition of his work at Adelaide about the end of 1929. On the 4th of November of 1929  he was found in the grounds of his house shot through the head, and he died on the same day, apparently a suicide.  He left a widow and three sons.


Little is known of his painting in Australia but his etchings are widely collected. Examples of them can be found in the print-collections at Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth and at the British Museum, London.