Gerrit Willem Dijsselhof (1866-1924) formed together with Theo Nieuwenhuis en Adolph Lion Cachet the forefront of the Dutch Art Nouveau movement. Although Dijsselhof has designed only a few bookbindings, he was also in this area an example for the others. His most famous work is the book ornamentation for the Dutch translation of Walter Crane’s ‘The Claims of Decorative Art’, wich was published as ‘Kunst en Samenleving’ (Art and Society) in 1893.
Standard for a new Dutch book design
With this innovative work Dijsselhof set the standard for a new Dutch book design. One of his major innovations was that he expressed the materials and construction of the bookbinding in its design. He also reintroduced the woodcut in Dutch book art and made for each chapter a header and closing vignette. The motives for these small works of art are largely derived from the flora and fauna of the Dutch countryside and from Dutch folk art.