John Der is a Quebec artist born in Saskatchewan in 1926 who left us in 1996.
A sailor in the merchant navy in his youth, John Der had a professional career in the insurance business. He became a professional painter at the age of 55. Like many an artist, he spent the first few years of his artistic career trying to find representation in the art world but Der soon found his niche market and became a well respected and sought after artist.
John Der’s work is, first and foremost, about ordinary people living their lives experiencing the joys, sorrows and victories of everyone. His keen eye was quick in finding the personality of his subjects and his agile hand was apt at translating their feelings and mindsets in a way seldom found in the world of art. His subjects are a little like him, gruff, happy, with a generous physique; their expression gentle, sad or confused but always honest.
Sportsmen, revellers, dancers and so many other ordinary people were immortalized in this giant’s impressive body of work into which he transferred his own humour and “joie de vivre”. All the canvases he graced with his talent and his oil paints are a reflection of who he was. His landscapes, a scarcer subject for Der, also show the artist’s preoccupation for anecdote and the subject behind the paintings.
John Der’s work is still alive today, thanks to his continued presence in major galleries and collections but, also, because of his continued presence in the hearts of the people who knew and admired him.
John Der in the media
Available lithographs by John Der