Thursday, 13 September 2012

Charlotte Rollins = Charlotte Rollius

This is a follow up from posting on sept. 6th 2012.

Charlotte Rollius
(around 1885 – mentioned in 1944/45)
German printmaker, 

and the

Exhibition of Contemporary German Graphic Art
Chicago (USA)- januari 1913

Thanks to reader Archimandrill both identity and nationality of this supposedly British printmaker today is set right.  The enigmatic Charlotte Rollins who existed probably for 90 years is in fact Charlotte Rollius. The confusion and her obscuring are probably caused by Malcolm Salaman in 1929 in the Studio production "The Art of the Woodcut". Either by him or by negligence of the editor/corrector. Salaman’s expertise has great reputation but he is also reputed for his sloppiness.  
Martin Erich Philipp, "in der Grafische Austellung " 1912-1913
etching probably showing the Chicago Exhibition.
16 years before Charlotte Rollius stood in the light of critics and experts on both sides of the ocean. With four of her, at the time highly praised for daring colors, woodblock prints she was selected for the Exhibition of Contemporary German Graphic Art in the Art Institute of Chicago January 2d to January 19th 1913.
Max Liebermann: badende Junge ( 190)
The New York Times of December 1th 1912 (note: Titanic sank in April) started the information to the public in a double paged illustrated article.

Carl Thiemann (3 works): Amaryllis, 297
This exhibition showed only the best of the German graphic artists and the catalogue summing up no less than 370 works of art by 90 artist on display and was organized by the New York branch of the Berlin Photographical Company renowned for its editions of high quality art work reproductions 1880-1920.
Lovis Corinth (4 works): Mother and Child,
In Germany Dr. Otto Michael in Berlin is mentioned but I failed to find anything on this man yet. Maybe it was his collection or he worked for a Berlin Museum. In America the exhibition was organized and revised by Martin Birnbaum (1878-1970), scolar, critic, art dealer and the director of the BPC in New-York 1910-1916.
Max Pechstein (2 works) Somali Dancers, 
Later, in the 1930’s, a selection of 36 reproductions probably made by this company was distributed for educational display in Chicago schools. Among them works by, Whistler and van Gogh but also by Charlotte Rollius ("for style and distinction") and to my surprise the Sunflowers woodblock print by Else Schmiedeberg-Blume as: "gay example of woodblock, for the lower grades". This print was not in the 1913 exhibition.
Else Schmiedeberg: gay Sunflowers
The exhibition comprises a selection of both established and renowned artists (“Giants” the catalogue states) like Max Liebermann (13 works), Emil Orlik (6 works), Max Klinger (15), Käthe Kolwitz (18), Franz Marc (3), Kandinsky (1), Emil Pottner (20 works, 241) Meta Cohn (2 ) and Walter Klemm (5)
Franz Marc ( 6)
But also rookies like Martin Erich Philipp with his 1908 woodblocks no. D5 and D6 and 3 early etchings (cat 231-235). They nevertheless made his fame overseas and explaining why many of his (and others) prints often surfacing in America.
Martin Erich Philipp (cat. 231, 232 and 235)
Without a doubt there was a commercial aspect involved, prints sold or ordered. Probably through mediation from Birnbaum himself.
Emil Orlik (6 works)
Portrait of Ferdinand Hodler, 222
Charlotte may be the daughter of Julius Rollius and Mathilde Charlotte Elise Palm. Their daughter Elisabeth Maria Louise Rollius (born 1884) in 1909 marries into the established Berlin family Betke. As I experienced many of these German lady printmakers (and other artists) were from well to do families partly because University scientific studies weren't accessible for women in those days. 
Heine Rath (7 works cat.nrs 249-255): Pont Royal. 

There's still a lot to be investigated about Charlotte Rollius. First accounts are her studying with Emil Orlik around 1906-08, the last says she was probably still alive in 1944/45. 
Kandinsky Composition IV 1911 ( 121) 

Anno 2012 it would be possible to reconstruct the entire exhibition digitally, an endeavour that would certainly be great fun. It would be a great book and time capsule too. But today I will limit myself to a selection interesting for readers of the Linosaurus. 
Max Slevogt (10 works) Nymph and Faun ( 278)

I've found some very nice artist too, some famous some obscured but very interesting like etcher Erna Frank (1881-1931) represented with 4 etchings (cat.nrs 50-53, not found) In her days her work was compared to Whistler.
Erna Frank: Charlottenburg Ufer (Berlin), not in the 1913 exh.

Sadly the 4 prints shown by Charlotte Rollius I couldn't find, but I'm confident one day they will surface: (exh.nrs 258 -261, Geraniums, Landscape, Primula and Apples, Still Life).
Walter Klemm (5 works) "Pelican"

The chosen examples are just a fraction of the 370 artworks displayed in 1913 and used here only to illustrate this posting on Charlotte Rollius.
You can find the 1913 Chicago Exhibition catalogue 


  1. Well, I told you Salaman could be suspect but this is a fascinating if confusing account. Like you, I think these exhibitions can be very telling and I must have a look at some of those back-catalogues myself.

  2. Thank you, I hope with this revelation I did Charlotte justice after all these years. Thank you Archimandrill. Besides the Giants and their work in the cataloque there are some great other atists to be found. Google is a great and easy medium to meet and explore them without a transatlantic back to the future flight, tickets and Hotel. But there are prints that seem to have disapeared. I've read on several ocasions estimates of how many works of art were distroyed in Berlin, Hamburg and Dresden alone in the studio's of artists and in the homes of people. It makes me think in a different way about way the copies I collected were safed and traveled in time.
    Composing this posting took a lot of reading, work and time.

  3. Hello, This is really a great collection. I can see all of the work you have done to put it together. Thank you for the wonderful education you are giving us. Maybe it can inspire us all to get back to what really counts, making prints.


  4. Thank you for the encouragement Milton. I wish you lots of inspiration.

  5. I own Charlotte's Geraniums (No. 258) if you would be interested in seeing it.

  6. Of course ! Please send me a picture (email in the contact button above) or send to:

  7. May I add another exhibition to this interesting post: Galerie Ernst Arnold, Dresden, September 1913, 'Graphische Ausstellung - Holzschnitte', the catalog mentiones Ch. Rollius; Source: Ruth Negendanck: 'Die Galerie Ernst Arnold (1893-1951), Weimar, 1998, p.454
    We document Charlotte Rollins (Rollius) with her exhibitions here

    1. Hallo Thomas, diese Beitrag ist vor 5 Jahren geschrieben. Danke vielmals. Artist-info ist ein sehr interessante Quelle. Leider fand ich ich wenig von etwa 400 Deutsche Künstlerinnen in meinem Biografienbuch: Deutsche Künstlerinnen geboren 1850-1900 mit Farbholzschnitt beschäftigt 1900-1935.