About Mels Sluyser

The Jewish Painter Mels Sluyser

I am a biochemist by profession working in cancer research but some years ago I started painting and spontaneously, as it were, under my hands canvasses filled themselves with Jewish themes. I am Jewish, but never before had I so felt the need to give shape to Jewish Life in such an important way. Since I am doing this I feel that I have come home. As the years go by I have felt my Jewish roots ever more strongly and feel the urgent need to express this in my paintings.

That joy of people with their simple  “Menschlichkeit”, that is also the soul of my paintings

It probably has to do with the fact that I am the son of Meyer Sluyser, the celebrated Dutch author who after the Second World War wrote a series of books about the old Jewish neighborhood of Amsterdam. In these books my father strove to preserve the memory of the original Jewish characters who populated his pre-War life. There was a lot of poverty and misery, but the solidarity and the typical Jewish humor created an atmosphere which now can only be remembered with nostalgia. That joy of people with their simple “Menschlichkeit”, that is also the soul of my paintings. That Jewish life of years past, I hope that my work can recover at least a bit of that and preserve it for later.

A short, Dutch cinematic portrait of Mels Sluyser, made by RTV Noord-Holland.