Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Amazing: Fanny Psicha

Fanny Psicha
born as 
Maria Adeline Alice Schweistal
(Brussels 1864 - Amsterdam 1950)

Dutch painter and printmaker.

(her portrait, probably by her Academy teacher and friend Marie Wandscheer (1856-1936) who was a close friend of Willem Witsen, one of Netherlands great etchers. Maybe explaining the quality of this only known graphic work by Fanny.

Today, interupting the Antwerp and Verpilleux postings I'ld like to share this remarkable woodblock (25x30 cm) print. The grain of the block is clearly visible and it's monogrammed FP in the block. The perspective and composition is reminding of James MacNeil Whistler's (1834-1903) "Nocturne": Battersea Bridge, Hiroshige, and other Japanese equivalents. 
  L: Whistler        R: unknown 

 Yoshimune Arai 
Discovering the figures and the horse and carriage on the bridge actually being Japanese was an even bigger surprise. The silhouetted figurines resemble Yoshimune Arai (1873-1945)(above) and Shoda Koho (1870-1946), below. Recognizing the Amsterdam Canal and Bridge by an observant reader would be a great help. I don't think Fanny ever visited Japan.

And this Ver-Sacrum example by one Leopold Stilba (R.)

Fanny was accepted 1887 (23) as "Fanny Psicha, born 1866" in the "Rijks Academie voor Beeldende Kunst" in Amsterdam and was a student untill 1892. The year of birth a slight difference with her official date and closer to the date of her mothers marriage in 1867 (see below, maybe for social acceptance reasons.)

Additional examples by Walter Klemm (1883-1857) added Febr.16-2012  
Additional found woodblock by Dutch printmaker Jan Theodoor Giesen (1900-1983)

Trying finding out more about the artist at first I had very little succes, untill I found these paintings of Dutch interiors signed Fanny Psicha. The one below left, once belonged to Queen Juliana of the Netherlands (1909-2004). The others I found in old auction cataloques. No other examples of prints were found.

Here's some genealogical data which with some difficulty I managed to put together from the internet: 
Fanny's mother Klaartje van Kooten (Antwerp 1842-1914 Amsterdam) was of 100% Amsterdam Jewish descent but like Fanny was also born in Belgium). She married Antoine Psicha (Amsterdam 1837-1911) in 1867. Antoine Psicha's book on the theory of  "the birds eye perspective" was edited posthumously in 1912. I couldn't find any other children and I don't know if Fanny ever married.  

Only a handfull of Psicha family members actually lived in Amsterdam middle of the 19th century. There's a Liverpool merchant and ship owners branch (Georgi), and there are two refugee brorhers from the  Chios Diaspora (the Turkish massacre of the Isle of Chios in 1822). One named Antoine, and perhaps travelling from Chios through Marseille to Amsterdam to related families. The Greek Consul in Amsterdam was named C. Psicha, and had a brother both living in great wealth in Amsterdam. 

To the family name Schweistal I regretfully found nothing at all, neither in Holland nor in Belgium nor anywere else.


  1. Hello,

    I have an old oil painting of Fanny Psicha:"Pompoenen"
    On the back there is a hand signed label on which the address
    of that time has been mentioned: 2e Constantijn Huigenstreet
    in Amsterdam.
    Feel free to e-mail me at acakoevoets@kpnamil.nl

    all the best,


  2. I have a pastel with Chrysanthemums clearly signed. On the back a note that it is a gift to a lady for good care of prof. Allebé. Nice

    1. Hello Huub, how very nice to find my 4 year old posting and send a message thank you ! Please send me a picture of your pastel: gerbrandcaspers@icloud.com