Thursday, 9 January 2014

Cats by Joachim Rágóczy, another Emil Orlik student.

Hermann Adalbert Egon
Joachim Rágóczy
(Bonn 1895 – 1975 Berlin)

German painter and printmaker
and "cat man".

Descendent of a German branch of Hungary nobility and ruling families Joachim started his studies in the “Kunstgewerbeschule” in Berlin. His father ran a printing, publishing and newspaper company in Prenzlau a city north of Berlin.

Rácózcy studied between 1913-1921 with Emil Orlik (1870-1932) and because of the circle of students around Orlik became acquainted with later famous artists like Hanna Höch and George Grosz (who fled the Nazis to America in 1932) and he was to become Orliks personal assistant, printer and secretary. 
Through his friendship and job with Orlik he was able to live through the “Kunst und Kriegspolitik” of Adolf Hitler. After Orliks death he managed to live from his artwork and commissions and was appointed librarian of the “Berlin Hochschule für Kunsterziehung”

He had before lived for some time in the beautiful region of Langballig near Flensburg  close to the Danish border overlooking the Baltic sea and famous for its wonderful panoramas of picturesque villages, rolling dunes, blue seas and yellow flowering fields of “raps” or rape. 

A generation later it was this landscape that inspired printmaker Klaus Fussmann (1932-) creating his contemporary paintings and linocut prints. This posting a nice bridge to show some of his work in a next posting.

In 1943 Rágóczy married Irma Roth (1905-1989) whom he had known since 1927 possibly through Orliks painting classes because I can not help seeing her modelling in one of Orliks paintings, although I’m aware the particular "bobbed" hairstyle was very much in fashion in those years. His surviving letters to his later wife were published. 

Although practically obscured and forgotten during his life Rágóczy, who became blind in later life, is mostly remembered for his love for cats. After Irma Roth died in 1989 she left a legacy and at last the man who had ones exhibited with artists like Lovis Corint and Max Liebermann was awarded an exhibition in Berlin. It is said he left some 1400 sketches, drawings, watercolours and woodblock prints mainly of of cats. 

Through Orlik, this classic photographic study of the actress Alexia von Porembsky (1906-1981) with chinese hat has Anders Zorn qualities, Rágóczy also took up photography and although not much seems to have survived sometimes personal photo’s like the portrait of his wife Irma turn up in Ebay. 

A small collection of his work is preserved in the Flensburg Museum, prints and watercolours of cemeteries, churches and of the nearby island of Sylt.

All pictures taken from the Internet for friendly, educational and non commercial use only.


  1. The cat prints have so much personality - probably seen only by cat lovers. Knowing cats have little place in your life , Gerrie.