Thursday, November 14, 2019

Amsterdam Journal: The Schiller Hotelier

watercolor by Hallie Cohen
The Schiller hotel is located in Amsterdam’s center at Rembrandtplein 28. Frits Schiller (1886-1971) the son of the George Schiller, a brewer who founded the original, built the current structure, along with his two siblings, Hein and Elsa in 1912. He was a painter known as “the greatest hotelier amongst painters and the greatest painter amongst hoteliers.” The Schiller became a hot spot during the l920’s. The hotel was Amsterdam’s version of The Algonquin. Many artists, who were Frits’s friends, hung out in the portrait gallery of the brasserie.Today, the neon sign with its NH Schiller Hotel at the top over the dark hulk of the structure hangs somnolently, one of a number of buildings that now grace the city’s skyline. Amsterdam has, of course, been the home of the greatest of Dutch painters and it's hard to remember that there were students and masters who nobody ever knew. For many of these painters, art was simply an avocation. Frits was an example of an artist who moonlighted and not just to make ends meet. He straddled the world of art and commerce, though today his name is something you're more likely to see when you're staring out of a window than in studying the attribution on a work in the Rijksmuseum. Shortly before Frits's death in l971, the Schiller family sold the hotel and today it's known as the NH Amsterdam Schiller.

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