Monday, 11 March 2013

Emma Meyer (Mayer), Danish printmaker

Emma Meyer (Mayer)
(Emilie Leonore Meyer)
Danish landscape painter, arts and crafts artist, teacher
etcher and woodblock printmaker.

It has taken me some time to discover the identity of Emma Mayer. One reason is because there are no records of her as a printmaker in the www. No pictures, no auction sales, nothing but a handful of her paintings. Well actually, there was one, shown in this Blog even, but it was not attributed to her because the signature wasn't recognized. The colours of the Danish flag (var. "Union Jack", or "Danish Star") and the name of one of the earliest cultivated Dahlia varieties could have been a clever clue leading to Denmark. Some say 1882 others claim 1911. Emma had picked a bunch somewhere and saw their decorative potential in a print. 

It’s great to find territory that has not been trodden on before, revealing an obscured and unexpected printmaker is sometimes the reward.
A second reason of not being able to identify her earlier is the coincidence  there’s another contemporary artist-painter, by the same name. Both women have been mixed up before I’ve noticed, even in official writings. The other Emmy Meyer was born 1866 in Frankfurt, joined the Worpswede Artist Colony, was a friend of Otto Ubbelohde and died in Worpswede in 1938. This Emmy was taught and educated artistically in Berlins Zeichen und Mahlschule in the mid 1890’s. The school that for many years was run by Else Schmiedeberg. 
But my Emma (Emilie Leonore) Meyer was born in Flensburg as third child   of Fritz Meyer (1817-1891) a judge in Denmarks Supreme Court and Maria Frederikke Dalberg (1832-1917).
Three more children were born, the last one was Jennie Sophie, in 1866. She was to become a famous porcelain decorator and painter with the Royal Danish Porcelain Factory and exhibited worldwide.

Emma studied in Denmark with landscape painter Harald Foss (1842-1922) and with Denmarks most important impressionist painter Peder Krøyer (1851-1909) (see before posting) .

Emilie Mundts painting is on the wall in the couples studio next to the portrait of Emilie  Mundts father, a Danish mathematician and politician. 

Emma also followed trainings with painters Emilie Mundt (1843-1922) and Marie Luplau (1848-1925) (above) who were leading a painting school for women within the Danish Academy of Fine Arts. The history of these two women, lovers, great painters and feminists “avant la lettre” and their painting school is well worth reading and perhaps will follow in a next posting. Emma is buried in the same cemetery in Frederiksberg as her father and the two women teachers, and to this day very much loved and appreciated Danish painters.
Here are the pictures of a bundle of woodblock prints that I’ve found recently. Now Emma is finally on the map of Printmakers and Printmaking maybe more examples of her graphic work will show up.
She exhibited in the Royal Charlottenborg Castle from 1885-1922 and won prestigious awards like the Acadamy Award in 1895-96 and the Sødring Price for landscape painting in 1901.
In October 1908 I found her name among the exhibitors in Hamburg showing works from the collections of the Kopenhagen Kunstnerforeningen along with etchings by the the combined contemporary German Masters: Max Liebermann, Lovis Corinth, Siegfried Berndt, Emil Nolde, Käthe Kollwitz, Carl Moll, Walter Leistikow and many if not all of the other great names of the period.

Emma reworked some blocks for her Hamburg Alster print and experimented with slightly different colours. Both prints were in the bundle.

She was in Hamburg again in 1913, along with painter and printmaker Friedrich Lissmann (1880-1815) who’s great prints and sad life story I’ve unveiled in the Linosaurus here* and Gretchen Wohlwill (1878-1962) member of the Hamburg Seccesion with an equally sad biography being Jewish. She had recently returned from Paris studying with Matisse in his Academy (1908-1911)

And I found a clue Emma had been teaching in Hamburgs Arts and Crafts (Kunst und Gewerbe) school. Which has a great museum btw. 100 meters from the main Bahnhof, were concerts are given on authentic instruments and  housing great collections that will take more then one day to visit.

All pictures borowed from the Internet for friendly and educational use only.


  1. Fascinating, Gerrie. You put so much work into your research, and we enjoy the result. More! More!

    1. I'm already and continuously working on new postings Karen. But you're right, there is much time consuming work invested in simple postings like these. Aiming to add something worth reading to the Internet Library that wasn't there before. Comments like yours are the reward and fuel to continue. Too few also. But I'm not complaining considering still rising reader numbers and copied content I find scattered. That in itself is reward and compliment also........ But I like yours much better ! Stay tuned. Next is the fascinating couple mentioned above I've met researching Emma. It's a continuing story.

  2. I actually own the painting of the cottage near the road. Great painting.

    1. How nice ! I have no idea where I found the picture and I assume you have no objections showing it here ?