BONN. Bonn’s best-known city artist has died. Jan Loh drew many thousands of pictures during his time as the “Alle-mal-malen-Mann” in Bonn’s bars and beer gardens. For many Bonners, he is closely connected with their home town.
He was Bonn’s best-known city artist. “Darf ich euch alle mal malen hier,” (May I draw you all here?) – this the question with which the man who called himself Jan Loh, and who was known in Bonn as the “Alle-mal-malen-Mann,” went from pub to pub, from table to table, from guest to guest and who became an icon in the city and beyond. On Monday, after research by the GA, it became known that Jan Loh died last week as the result of a fall.
The significance of the “Alle-mal-malen-Mann” for Bonn can only be guessed at. His death became a talking point in the city within hours and thousands of people left comments and reactions on the General Anzeiger Facebook page. Well-known politicians also commented.
In his local, the James Joyce in Mauspfad, a single candle burned in his memory on Monday evening next to a drawing by the artist on the bar counter. “I can't remember a single day in the last ten years when he wasn’t here – except for last week,” says the publican Stefan Bernhard. He started a search on Friday after Loh had not appeared for several days.
“We will miss him terribly,” says Bernhard. “His drawings, even if they were simple, had enormous expressive power,” he says. Although he often conversed with Loh, he knows little about the 86-year-old’s private life. “He rarely spoke about that,” says Bernhard. Nevertheless, he felt like family because of his constant presence.
Bonn will miss him
Jan Loh was also a daily guest at the Bönnsch at Sterntorbrücke, remembers waitress Annchristin Henseler. “If he only knew how much people are now remembering him and his drawings,” she says. “He was a Bonn original who will be missed.” 27-year-old pub guest Martin associates Loh with his time as a student. “I have enough pictures by him, but he will be missed in Bonn,” says the former medical student. However, not every publican speaks well of Loh. “He was often pushy,” says one who does not want to be named.
The many thousands of pictures, which Jan Loh drew in his time as city artist, remain uncounted and what motivated him remains a mystery to many. But many people in Bonn will miss the man on the rickety bicycle and his pictures and his appearance will be remembered. Loh has thus created a monument in Bonn. The James Joyce boss puts it so: “The ‘Alle-mal-malen-Mann’ is better known in Bonn than the mayor.”
(Original text: Andreas Dyck. Translation: kc)