Saturday, 13 August 2011

Karl Johne, Czech (Bohemian) printmaker

Karl Johne
 (Kratzau, Bohemia 1887 – 1959) Czech (Bohemian) painter, graphic and woodcut artist, paintings restauration expert, bookcover and ex-libris designer, book illustrator.

Seeing this long list of skills and occupations together with the fine prints I am sharing with you today it is hard to believe so little, hardly anything, is to be found on the Internet on the life and works of this artist.
Reichenberg, Bohemia

It is thanks to the help of Ingeborg Schwarz born in Maffersdorf but like all German spoken inhabitants expelled after WWII sending me the biographical facts and data and three more examples of prints allowing me to make a beginning with this posting. At last, a first attempt showing the few works I found together, and in some form of context.     
Karl Johne descended from a Reichenberg family of teachers and was trained at the Reichenberg Teaching Institution (1907-1912). He later became a teacher in the Marine (Kriegsmarine) and later, from 1912 he taught mathematics and drawing in Reichenberg’s Knabenbürgerschule (High school for boys). To become headmaster of this school between 1936 and 1945. 
Titel unknown
Reichenberg (now Liberec) is situated roughly between Dresden and Prag on the Northern borders of what is now the Czech Republic but was known as Bohemia before 1918.
A very beautiful mountinous and rural area, with many rich and industrious cities, and with long traditions, history and culture. The population mainly German spoken during the centuries the borders of central Europe shifted with time and conflicts. Home of the Sudeten: Sudetenland.
Rauhreif über den Iserbergen

Winter im Isergebirge

Compare this very similar composition by printer Paul Leschhorn (1876-1952), surely more then a coincidence  although Leschhorn originated from the Alsace.

Paul Leschhorn

Frühlingstag (spring day)
Kratzau marketplace, a book illustration. 

It is known Johne restored over 400 paintings on request of the Governement.

See for more Karl Johne: here, and for more Paul Leschhorn: here

Please feel free sending me more examples to share and in honour of artist Karl Johne.

Thank you Ingeborg Schwarz, Thomas, Charles and Clive.


  1. Thanks to your efforts,which is far from random, we are beginning to get a better idea of what Johne could do. I must say I am surprised to learn he didn't appear to go to art school because there is nothing amateurish about his work.

    The Leschhorn influence is clear on two of the prints here. In 'Bergwinter' it's almost as though he had taken a rather weak print by Leschhorn and made something much better of it. I think he learned to remain true to the landscape from PL. He has a similar delicate feeling for light. The sky on the Iserbergen woodcut is particularly good. They have feeling, something you don't get in Lap's deco prints, for instance.

    I like the way he uses objects in the foreground to frame the view so that you get a picture within a picture. It's subtle. I think it's the kind of thing that Helene Mass would have done rather than PL. The distant landscapes are unobtainable rather like Johne's work nowadays.

    An excellent buy on your part and an excellent post! I wish I'd discovered him. Please find me one.


  2. I'll do my best, hopefully more prints will emerge now. Thanks for the encouraging words and expert opinion on these prints.