Thursday, 14 February 2013

Helene Mass (Maß), printmaker (IV)

Between 1875 and 1900 Berlin’s population (like those of London and Paris) roughly doubled. From 1 to 2 million (today 3,5 million). Around 1880 the Königliche Kunst und Gewerbe Schule was established after British Arts and Craft schools) and soon after a dozen more followed in most of Germany’s cities. In this Institution between 1890-1893 Walter Leistikow taught and  among them was Hélène Maß.   
Most of the world’ s todays great cities developed were great rivers meet the sea. There are exceptions: Paris, great river no sea. Berlin has neither sea nor Great River and rivers Spree and Havel, confluences of river Elbe are hardly navigable but creating a lovely lake district nearby. 

It was here, on the borders of the Wannsee in 1910 Max Liebermann, Germany’s great impressionist painter build his Villa Liebermann and retreated from the world, like Monet in Givenchy, to paint his garden and immediate surroundings.

Max Liebermann, one of the many paintings with chestnut and garden bench. 
Lower: Hélène Maß, (right: courtesy private collection of  Felicity Naylor)

Among the earliest German attempts on modern printmaking was Norwegian Edvard Munch (1863-1944) who was active in Berlin even before Orlik arrived. 

And in Munich Vasily Kandinsky (1866-1944) and his muse Gabriëlle Münter (1877-1962) were “at it” in the first years of the XXth century. But these artists making their later name and fame not by their printmaking but by painting. And their unusual love affair of course.   

Berlin in those years will have been riddled with Art Galleries, Art Shops, Workshops, Studio's and exhibitions held everywhere every day of the 52 weeks of the year. Around 1890-1910 Berlins cultural and artistic influences and popularity, it's many academies, schools, tutors and established artist matching London, Paris and Prag.
"Spree-schlepper" (Spree tugboat) and "bei den Spreefischern" Berlin 1906 prints by Thiemann and Klemm auction catalogue thumbnails. My WBR (web based research, with its limitations and restrictions) so far failed to locate them in color and reasonable resolution. Readers are invited to help discovering them.

In 1906 Walter Klemm and Carl Thiemann visited their colleague and teacher Orlik in Berlin. In 1907 they participated in an exhibition in Hamburg and several works of both men were discussed (reviewd and appraised) later in 1908 in "Zeitschrift für Verfielfaltigende Kunst". Several Hamburg and Prague views and these two River Spree Berlin prints were discussed. And also Thiemann’s swann and Klemm’s turkeys.

Also mentioned and much appraised was the colorful and "Japanese in execution" pine-print by Thiemann, probably the horizontal print below. The pines founnd around the lake Grünewald (Grünewaldsee), a popular and beautiful location forever linked to the many paintings by Mass' painting teacher Walter Leistikow. 

(Shiro Kasamatsu: "Kinokunisaka in Rainy Season")

See also this very fresh posting on Emil Orlik.

All pictures borrowed (reblogged) freely from the internet for friendly, educational non commmercial use.

(to be continued)


  1. Gerrie,

    the Japanese print at the end is Shiro Kasamatsu's "Kinokunisaka in Rainy Season", one of his masterpieces. And the resemblance to Thiemann's pine trees is striking, indeed!


    1. Thank you very much Klaus, I'll add this piece of information instantly.

  2. thanks for the Thiemann and Klemm tugboat and Hausboot-images, as I am currently working on a boat topic. Checked the UdK library in Berlin for these, with no success: there is an impressive 1976 volume "Carl Thiemann Meister des Farbholzschnitts" (Roether, Darmstadt)with a listing of the known 475 prints, this on only as small image. Not in the 1978 booklet of his wife Ottilie Thiemann-Stoedtner featuring also the Dachau community pointing to Thiemann's "Erinnerungen eines Dachauer Malers (1966). Likewise the 3 volumes with Walther Klemm works: the 1945 "Walther Klemm"(Adam Kraft Verlag, Karlsbad und Leipzig), the Walther Scheidig volume "Walther Klemm als Graphiker" (Verlag der Kunst Dresden 1959), and the booklet of the 1955 expo in Weimar (Alexander von Szpinger, Walther Klemm und Otto Dorfner). Anyway, if you would like any images from these I will be glad to provide them.

    1. Hans, thanks for looking into these two prints. The must have survived because I found them both in old(er) auction catalogues. If they aren't in the books and publications you've mentioned they must be rare prints. If you decide scanning or photographing the publications please do, send me a copy for my files on Klemm (and Thiemann).