Monday, 3 January 2011

Carl Rotky, "Motiv aus der Grazer Stadtpark"

Carl Rotky

Austrian docter, painter and linoleum cut printer,

Today I would like to share with you a linoleum print by Carl Rotky and some flower paintings not very often seen, shared or showed. Rotky is most famous for his Austrian landscape prints.

See for details on his biography and examples Clive’s transcendent posting of 05-09-2009:
All the more remarkable is this very elegant park scene (12 x 16,5 cm) in spring yellow that must have been even brighter when it was originally printed in 1918 when Rotky was 27 years old. There are dozens of examples of mountainous and snowy scenery and landscape prints but this print seems to be of a different caracter. I've never seen it before.

A mother and child (only 15 and 7mm !) both with hats are seen walking (away from the viewer) in the distance. Between the trees, at right, Rotky even knows to depict a park bench and just before the last tree he even manages to create the suggestion of a sitting person with a hat partially covered in the shadow of the tree.

In the yellow foliage and in the tree trunks it can be seen the designer Rotky started with printing a soft-gray block before the yellow, the blue block (together creating the green bushes in the background) to emphasize the paper’s brighter white in the dress, the park wall and patches of sunlight on the path. Closing it of with a black keyblock creating the trees' outlines. Simple, clever, genial !

Maybe a (certain) German reader can help decipher the text that was on the back board. I think it was a gift by some one named Rudolph and that also the (Austrian) place might be written preceding the 1918.

Next these some examples of flower painting, maybe studies. One or two I can see transformed in linocut prints but I think Rotky never undertook such efforts. I’ve never seen one. But to show you I tried suggesting(!) he did one. Just for fun.

The artificially "printed" version to my surprise could easily have been created by German printer Ernst Rötteken (1882-1945). Compare his Gentian below.

Postings on the printed art of Ernst Rötteken are in preparation and following soon.


  1. Gerrie,

    What a lovely print! I assume you own it, congratulations! It is certainly very rare, and it might be worth a try to check if it is included in August Trummer's catalogue raisonne of Rotky's prints. A (certain) German reader is on the brink of feeling envious.
    As far as the text on the back is concerned, I am not very good at reading that old German handwriting, I'm afraid. But I am quite sure that the first line is a dedication, reading "Meinem lieben Ludwig". It could also mean "Meiner lieben Hedwig", so the question is: Was Rudolf gay or not? :-)
    I can't read the name of the place before the date, but my mother-in-law will be here at the end of February, if you want to, I can ask her then. There's a good chance that she will be able to decipher it.

    take care,


  2. Maybe a reader has the Trümmer cataloque, I am very curious. And yes this time I am the lucky owner. I will gladly wait untill your mother makes further investigations on the place name. Thank you so far Klaus, you've been very helpfull already.

  3. Fascinating to see that not even Germans can read German script! But then doctors are notorious for illegibilty. Has Rotky become an alter ego?

    But I agree it says 'lieben' and that it's a very interesting print. You could contact August Trummer through his website. You could also contact the other Austrian website.

    Also interesting an avenue is used as a metaphor for the past. Isn't the woman turning to speak to the hidden figure? The sense of onward movement brings it to life.

    It was very sneaky of you to buy this. It is a coup!

  4. I had a bit of luck stumbling over it. I am not on the look out for Rotky's prints although he is very good and collectable ofcourse. So I leave the hunting ground to you lot. This one is enough, I am back to bouquet prints.
    Isn't the saying: when the cat's from home the mice are dancing.
    Thanks for the nice comment.

  5. The retreating figure always so much more mysterious than when approaching.

  6. Seinem lieben Moritz, Weihnachten 1918. Rudolf. His beloved Moritz, Christmas 1918. All the best from Austria, Hannelore Greinecker-Morocutti