• Painter, Gov. Tom McCall’s portrait, 1982.
  • Painter, Gov. John Kitzhaber’s portrait, 2009.

About Henk Pander

Born in the Netherlands in 1937, Henk Pander joined his father, artist Jacob (Jaap), on drawing and watercolor painting expeditions. Pander enrolled at Amsterdam’s Rijksacademie in 1956. There, he received training in drawing and painting and got an education in Dutch art. 

In 1964, Pander met an art student from Oregon. They were married in Amsterdam and moved to Portland with their son the next year. The move was not originally meant to be permanent, but after having another son in Amsterdam, they returned to Oregon. He continued to live in Oregon to stay close to his sons, and he described himself as a “reluctant immigrant”. His view of America as an outsider brought a unique perspective to his art.

Over his career, Pander diversified his artwork production to include poster-making, portraiture and public art (including Oregon Percent for Art commissions). He also created works such as still life paintings and Dutch and American landscapes. His childhood in the Netherlands, experiences of living under Nazi occupation during World War II and his perspective on being an immigrant in the United States heavily inspired his work. He also taught painting and drawing at Museum Art School (now Pacific Northwest College of Art).

Pander created two pieces of artwork that hang in the Capitol. One is a portrait of Governor Tom McCall in 1982, and another is a portrait of Governor John Kitzhaber in 2009. Governor Ted Kulongoski honored him with the Governor’s Arts Award in 2005.

– Interview recorded October 11, 2002