Saturday, 24 March 2012

Emil Ganso: Bathers (Badende) (1/3)

Emil Ganso
American painter and woodcut printmaker,
 woodengraver, lithographer, etcher.   

Like Tor Otto Fredlin (1890-1950) in last posting, Emil Ganso wasn't predestined becoming an artist. He started his career as a baker in Germany, worked on board of the Germany-America Shipping Line and became, on the outbreak of WW1 an American citizen in 1914. Besides a self taught artist Ganso had to bake bread until 1924 when finally he could live of his art. Here's a good biography on the artist.  
A few weeks ago his print, "Bathers", was on offer at Ebay. It is a print uniquely made for "the Colophon", an American Art and Collectors Magazine in  februari 1933. It's executed in the wood engraving technigue and printed on mulberry paper. The Ebay offer went unnoticed and cheap. It however made me curious enough looking for more examples of Ganso's work and so  becoming aware of his fascination for bathing women. And ofcourse, he wasn't the only one.  
Besides famous for his still lifes, his interpretations of the female nude are highly praised. Besides in mine, I'm proud to say the Bathers print is also in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. 
Left: "Hilda" by Emil Ganso and right a great unexpected etching by Martin Erich Philipp (1887-1978) who besides his fascination for the macaws in Dresden Zoo that made him famous even in America and being a good etcher evidently had a similar aesthetic eye for the female back.

For centuries bathing women have been an inspiration to artists from ancient Greece to Rembrandt, Rubens and Picasso. Lower left ofcourse the famous pastel by French impressionist Pierre August Renoir. This Blog more or less following my stream of consciousness (or "monologue interieur") I've discoverd so many closely related and often unknown works of art I've decided dedicating one or two more posting to this theme. A theme that magicaly seems to turn ordinary(?) women into mythologic creatures, graces and nymphs. 

But first here are some more of Emil Ganso's graces and nymphs. Bathing, reclining, resting women executed in different mediums (oil, pastel, etching and woodcuts) and when seen together they share the natural, relaxed and at leasure almost dreamlike atmosphere. Also completely unaware of any artist or observer in bathroom, boudoir or lakeside. Quite differently from, for example, the direct and far more confronting photographic style of Anders Zorn whom's nevertheless great and astonishing etchings of bathing women I discussed recently in the Blog (here). 
Ganso's women have much more in common with the women of Felix Valloton (1865-1925) (above) 
Next:  more bathing women, graces and nymphs.

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