Willem Arondeus Dutch

Not on view

Salome sits at the center of a sinuous vine, its flowering buds shaped like profile heads, reminding us of her request to have John the Baptist beheaded. This depiction was influenced by an illustration by the British artist Aubrey Beardsley for Oscar Wilde’s Salome. The inscription below paraphrases in Dutch Wilde’s text: "It is his eyes above all that are terrible. They are like black holes burned by torches in a tapestry of Tyre." During World War II, Arondeus joined the resistance and produced false identity papers for Dutch Jews. He was one of a group of fighters who blew up Amsterdam’s registry building, which housed the archive that the Germans employed to check forged identification. He was later betrayed, arrested, and executed. Arondeus and several other members of the group were openly gay. It is said that before he was executed he told a friend to "let it be known that homosexuals are not cowards."

Salome, Willem Arondeus (Dutch, Naarden 1894–1943 Haarlem), Brush and brown ink and brown wash, graphite.

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