Tuesday, 29 November 2011


Carl Kunst (II)
German Printmaker
 Poster & Bookcover designer.

A few weeks ago I received a friendly email with some goodies attached from Blog reader Konstantin, who inherited from his father several, a collection of prints by Carl Kunst. There is also a family connection to this artist. Today I'ld like to share one of them because I think it is pretty spectacular and unique. It is also a good opportunity announcing a third posting showing even more new finds of this short lived but great poster and printmaker.
1910 USA
What makes this print so very special, besides capturing the action, the dare devillish speed and movement so well, the fact is it must be the absolute first woodblock print inspired by this new and daring sport: car racing. Grandprix racing originating in 1908. Here are some great photographs from that time.
Robert Leon Demachy, photographer, (1854-1936) "Speed" 1903

In this famous 1916 photograph people were puzzled by the oval shape of the wheels. The phenomenen occurs because of the cars' speed and the slow shutter speed of the camera. Capturing a racing car with these kind of camera's was a great achievement and must have been of great help designing this great print. As well as the posters of the period below.

Even without a proper date the print must be created around 1905-1910 because of the untimely departure of Carl Kunst aged only 27 in 1912. The car probably German although Fiat raced with red cars in those years. Maybe a reader can help us on the make of the car, maybe even knows who is driving it (in Germany ?) 
1907 Fiat
1908 Mercedes
It is hard to imagine it would take another 25(!) years before British Cyril Edward Power (1872-1951) and Canadian Sybil Andrews (1898-1993) created their famous speed and racing inspired linoleumcut prints after together founding the Grosvenor School of Modern Art in 1925.

Cyril Power 1932
Sybil Andrews 1934

To be continued with even more new found examples of Carl Kunst's woodblock prints.


  1. Gerrie - You've done the world a favour in gathering and displaying this forgotten artist's work - and how amazing to find such an early motor-racing print. I'm sure you're right it is probably the earliest such work, and it's not just early and rare but really good.

  2. Well the world......I don't know. I'm happy I did you a favour Neil. And myself of course. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Great site. I'ms researching on lino cuts for my artherapy mémoire. this info here is great ! Thank you.