HOLZER, Henry

1907 - 2007

Henry Robert W. Holzer, was born at Tufnell Park Road, Islinton, North London on 31 December 1907, second but eldest surviving son of Charles Holzer (25 August 1878-10 June 1943), a lithographic artist, and his wife Catherine Emilie Adelheid née Collatz (15 February 1886-29 October 1970), who married at Edmonton, London in 1905, Emilie died at Beccles, Suffolk in 1970. In 1911, a 3 year old, living at 86 Tufnell Park Road, Islington with his parents, 32 year old Charles and 25 year old Catherine, who was born at Whitechapel, London, with two siblings, John 2 and Catherine Marie Louise (15 February 1911-29 October 2005), both born at Islington and in 1939 were living at 2 St George's Avenue, Islington. Holzer enjoyed a happy childhood devoted to painting and drawing, with an amused appreciation of the everyday world around him. He often drew on the newspapers and packets in his grandmother's sweet shop. His Viennese-born father was a lithographer in the London office of Hübner, where Henry took an apprenticeship on leaving school. He also honed his artistic talent over long stints at evening classes, where he chalked up 1,000 hours of life drawing. He studied at the Central School of Arts and Crafts and the Regent Street Polytechnic, before taking up a teaching career at Hornsey College of Art. He married in the City of London in 1934, Helena Joan Hayes (1910-1982), and they had a son, Alan, and in 1939 were living at 28 Heathville Road, Islington, London, but divorce followed in 1940. War service saw a posting to peaceful northern India, where he spent most of his time painting the spectacular scenery. He ended the war as a second lieutenant in the Royal Artillery producing camouflage work and, in the weeks after VE Day, lithographs of anti-doodlebug defences on the Suffolk coast while stationed at Walberswick, Suffolk. Holzer's artistic skills had also been put to use painting murals on the walls of the officers' mess in nearby Southwold, offending local ladies who mistook his cavorting mermaids and naiads for pornography, refused to enter the room. In the end, he was ordered to paint them out. Back in London, he resumed his calling as a teacher, serving as head of printmaking at Hornsey until retirement in 1968. Following marriage at St Pancras, London in 1957, to his former student Pamela G. Platford (born 1934), his second family came to embrace seven children. In 1966, Holzer moved to an idyllic location in south Norfolk, with views over the Yare valley. He exhibited regularly in London-at the Royal Academy and with the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers, as well as with the Roland, Browse and Delbanco, Redfern and Piccadilly galleries. Featuring in many mixed exhibitions, he was prominent in the 50-artist show to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Aldeburgh festival in 1997. He died on 8 July 2007, being survived by Pam, six sons and two daughters.




Works by This Artist