Mels Sluyser was born on November 12th , 1930, in Amsterdam from Jewish parents Meyer Sluyser and Jette Blog. In 1934 a sister was born called Marijke. When in May 1940 German troops invaded the Netherlands , Mels and his parents and little sister managed miraculously to escape to England. At the end of the war, when they returned to Holland almost all their family turned out to be murdered in Auschwitz by the Nazis.
With his oil paintings of Jewish scenes, Mels tries to recapture the Jewish world of yesteryear. His paintings distinguish themselves by a powerful use of color and a rapid impressionist touch. With these ingredients he manages to evoke a warm atmosphere which harmonizes perfectly with his subject matter. However, his paintings are not only nostalgic and melancholy, but with his merry Jewish wedding scenes and funny Yiddish boozers Mels not only let us look back, but he also shows that the Jewish lust for life cannot be broken. That vitality is still there, the Jewish men and women of today in his paintings bear with them both the joy and anguish of Jewish history.
Mels grew up with the stories written by his father Meyer Sluyser, the famous radio commentator and chronicler of the Jewish quarter of Amsterdam. Meyer wrote books with titles like “Before I forget” and “Mr.Monday and Other Tales of Jewish Amsterdam”. The sensitivity with which Mels paints his Jewish themes he undoubtedly inherited from his literary father. The works of both father and son witness ‘neshoma’, the Jewish ‘Soul’. Their neshoma consists of a great empathy for the lives of simple Jewish folks, people without fuss who don’t put on airs. With his artistic talent Mels Sluyser shares with us their joy, sorrow, solidarity and humor in his beautiful paintings.
Mels Sluyser - Their laughter sounds from so far away
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