According to Alexander Ver Huell, an artist has a social function: to fight against Evil, to achieve Ideals and to pursue the Truth. He saw himself as a typical interpreter of the ‘idealistic movement’ in the art of painting. In his opinion society, however, preferred to be guided by politics and religion. True artists were misunderstood and persecuted.
The artist who is sneered at and suffers is a frequently recurring theme in Alexander’s work. He did not feel he received sufficient recognition in his life. In 1892, when plans were made to pay tribute to him on the occasion of his seventieth birthday, Alexander refused: he wanted a royal honour. In newspaper advertisements he wrote: ‘Let them write on my grave: He did much for his country, his country did nothing for him’. However, the conflict he had as an artist was not of a social nature, but took place in the artist’s head only.
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