Hos, Kees

26-8-1916 to 3-12-2015

Foundation Head of the School of Art & Design Gippsland Institute of Advanced Education.

Kees Hos’ life was an amazing ninety-nine year adventure experiencing the heights of Western Culture as an art and music student, teacher and artist in The Hague and Amsterdam, and the depths of depravity during the Nazi occupation.

In 1956 Kees and Tina had the resilience to make a new life with their two children in the arts and galleries and art schools of New Zealand where they made a considerable pioneering contribution. In Australia Kees established the art school in Gippsland in 1971 with a radical multidisciplinary approach to art education. He generously delivered encouragement and opportunities to many people including lecturers, visiting artists and students. His small team literally built an art school from zero. Temporary accommodation in an old factory and service station in Morwell moved to three student-built studios on the Gippsland Campus.

His printmaking is in many public and private collections including the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Victoria, Latrobe Regional Gallery, Auckland Art Gallery and a Prix de Rome Silver Medal from 1940. As a gifted cellist he also enriched the music scene across Gippsland.

His highest recognition was 1997 when the names of Kees and Albertine Hos were added to the Wall of Honour in the Garden of the Righteous at Yad Vasheem in Jerusalem along with many others who put their lives on the line against the biggest killing machine the world had known. The ‘hiding-place’ in Kees and Tina’s home was discovered but Tina managed to rescue a baby as her own while the Jewish parents were transported to Auschwitz and Dachau. Kees was on the run using his printmaking skills to forge passports but was eventually captured and jailed, the war’s end saving his life.

A world citizen has gone but left an imprint. Tina pre-deceased Kees in 1976.”

Hedley Potts, Senior Lecturer (Ret.) Monash University Gippsland School of Art.