Friday, 13 May 2011

Friedrich Lissmann, a follow up

Friedrich Lissmann
(Bremen 1880 – Yper 1915)

German painter and woodblock printer.

Before showing some great new discoveries I first want to update and complete my posting on October 27th 2010 on Friedrich Lissmann

In the meantime I found an affordable copy (1€) of the little book by Mia Lenz “ein Lebensbild”. A small biography on the short but rich life and the works (paintings) of the artist edited in 1920 by the “Hanseatischer Kunstverlag Hamburg”. The gulls woodcut on the front a free print. This great "puffins" 1920's postcard of a woodcut by Friedrich, a reproduction of the authentic print I cleaned and polished a bit for your pleasure to show how keen an observer as well great printer he was. I think Friedrich was the Frans Schubert of nature painting and woodblock printing, if only they've had the chance of living longer (relief printers have a tendency for long life). What more could they have given the world?
And here's a woodcut and b&w book page and the real painting I found.

In the booklet I found the portrait of Friedrich, giving him after nearly a 100 years a face on the Internet. The contents telling, in old German print (Fraktur font), the life story of Friedrich. How he was very talented and encouraged at drawing as a boy. How he visited the Karlsruhe Art School and fell in love with the North Sea coast and the Elbe river estuary with its tidal mud flats, and hords of migrating birds. Like in this painting of a skein of geese following the dunes, that he whitnessed there. (I gave the b&w book page a colour wash in Photoshop)
Friedrich grew up in Bremen and Hamburg. Later as a young man he made journeys to the wilderness of Iceland and painted the landscape and wildlife there. He made studies in botany to get the plants right and in ornithology to get the birds right. Then he was a model soldier serving his country and died aged 35 in the trenches of Flanders Fields in 1915.
In 1920, 5 years after his death the complete works of Lissmann were edited in 6 maps, in copper plate engravings, each map with an original woodcut on the cover. The set recently offered for 500 € in a German antique books shop. Also postcards were made of his prints, 18 of them, regularly offered on Ebay. And the booklet tells of 23 “Original Holzschnitte” (17 of them birds) that sold in 1920 signed for a 100 DM (Deutsch Mark). After some serious Googling learning that wouild be about $ 30 in today’s money value.

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