Monday, 24 May 2010

Ilse Koch and Hugo Amberg

ILSE KOCH (born 2-7-1869 Amberg - ...... )

The Blogs header showing part of this lovely woodblock print by Ilse Koch.

A good way to start this adventure. I will show you what I have discovered, sofar, about the artists I particularly like. This Ilse Koch "original Handdruck" one of my alltime favourites because of the composition in blue and orange is so very appealing.

Searching the Internet, scanning books and auction cataloques. And other Blogs, some very informative others even professional. I like to know and find out as much as I can about my favourit artists.

Mostly there is not that much to tell or to share. Thus, pictures will have to tell the story of their talent. Details about their lives? Often only an entry in an Artist or Künstler Lexikon. Sometimes not even that.

These lesser Gods and Godesses of linoleum and woodblock printing eventually and gradually became enveloped in obscurity. Their art fell out of grace, was forgotten and disposed of. Their pictures ending up in carboot sales and Salvation-Army stores. Ikea art flourishing as a standard for good taste nowadays. Famous once, forgotten later.

There were so many very talented men and woman in the high days of woodblockprinting. I will try to do some of them at least, honor. They deserve bringing their works out of the dark into the light.

I will limit myself to the lesser Gods. Other Blogs, Websites, and books cover many great celibrated and famous artists. And to start with, I shall only deal with flower (bouquets) woodblock prints. And some topics related perhaps. Because that's what I like most. And because I am just a beginner in the Blog-world.

Woodblock and Linoleumprinting, once so very popular was an art form many excelled in. Reaching great hights and popularity. Roughly between 1900-1945. Before TV, telephone and computers took over our evenings. At first imitating and later developing Japanese woodblockprinting technics into a new, more Western styled art form. Introducing linoleum as a new cutting and printing medium popularised this artform greatly.

"Koch (Koch- Amberg), Ilse, Malerin, geb. 2. Juü 1869 in Amberg, Schülerin der Kunstgewerbesch. in Hamburg; tätig ebenda".

This is her entry in :
"The lives and works of the most famous conceptual artists"

"born 2th of july 1869 in Amberg, student of the (famous) “Künstgewerbe” Artschool in Hamburg and that she worked in Hamburg at the time (1922) ".

Trying to find information about Ilse Koch on the Internet is greatly hindered by her horrible namesake, the concentration camp warcriminal and devilish Ilse (Köhler-) Koch. The disturbed wife of the Buchenwald concentration/exterminationcamp Kommandant.

Ilse Koch married:
HUGO AMBERG (born 11-10-1872, Hamburg – died (after?) 1943, Osnabrück) . The same 1922 Lexikon stating: "Amberg, Hugo, Maler und Graphiker, geb. 11. Okt. 1872 in Hamburg, auto-didaktisch gebildet. Er malte, radierte und stach Landschaften".

"Painter, etcher and grafic-landscape artist, auto didact. He was known as a free creating artist since 1899.

Hugo Amberg teached drawing at the “Künstgewerbe” Art school in Hamburg 1922-1923" (and maybe after that because I havent a clue were this "auction" information came from or when it was dated)

Sofar I have found only three examples of Hugo Amberg's woodblock prints. They are simple but very well executed gems. The pinetree-print in a very recent auction cataloque. Bidding starting at: 100 Euro…… But, helas, I was too late. Sold !

I dearly hope to own my own Ilse Koch one day. Eventually I will put up my "other" collected woodblock prints to trade, swap or sell on the Blog. Limiting my collecting to flower (bouquet) prints only.

So ......just 4 woodblock examples sofar of Ilse Koch's great talent and only 3 by Hugo Amberg.

Surely there will be more examples in existance ? Any information on their woodblock prints, their lives and careers would be welcomed. And added to my Blog. Perhaps and hopefully a photograph of who they were and what they looked like.

In the meantime I plan to contact the Hamburg "Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe", existing to this day, for more information on this talented couple.

To be continued .........................

Feel free to comment and send any additional information.


  1. I think I have An original Hugo Amberg. Look at my Facebookpage Arnold Reijnen.
    Arnold Reijnen, Vlijmen, Nederland.

    1. Inderdaad ! Leuk dat he mij hebt gevonden. Die andere tekst is "Original Holzschnitt". Groeten Gerbrand (Sneek)