Sunday, 20 April 2014

Martha Cunz: the Dutch Connection (II)

Martha Cunz

St.Gallen (1876-1961)
Swiss painter, print- and bookplate maker.

In before posting the importance of Martha Cunz as one of the pioneers of color woodblock printing was emphasized. In a relative short period between 1902 and 1905 with her experiments she was able to create very fine prints of extra ordinairy quality in the Japanese way, inspiring her colleagues and paving the way for a new generation of printmakers, often women and most of them professionally trained as painters, to give it try too. 

Many of these women already were accomplished painting artists and/or teachers with professional careers.

This unsigned and never before published print (above) has great similarities with Martha Cunz' early St.Gallen and other night prints. Perhaps it will be attributed to her with certainty one day.  


My personal interest and main focus in woodblock-print collecting and research is concerning this perticular group of German women printmaking artists. Their biographies which are often unknown, obscured and very incomplete I try to complete. They were born between 1856 and 1895 and were professionally active with printmaking 1905-1940. The (my) list, today comprising of some 150 names of artists. Only a few of them acquired the fame and status of Martha Cunz but most of them had modest careers and stayed relatively unknown. 
Here are some more examples of a some printmaking women artists who I know visited the Netherlands. 

Helene Mass (born 1871) 

The same location anno 2010, 1905 and the famous painting by Dutch impressionist Georg Henri Breitner (1857-1923) 

Helene Mass' visit to Amsterdam resulting in this characteristic Canal print showing the junction of two of Amsterdam canals: the Keizersgracht and the Reguliersgracht (print shown with courtesy of reader Holger in Munich). 

Louise Wagner (1875-1950)

Louise Wagner, who created mainly lithographic prints, obviously visited the Island of Marken, a traditional North Sea fishing community just north of Amsterdam before the completion of the Afsluitdijk in 1932 (see before posting).
Emma Bormann (1887-1974)

"De Kolk" in the heart of the old Rotterdam before it was destroyed by the cowardly fire bombing of May 14th 1940 by the German Luftwaffe as seen by later professor Emma Bormann.  

De mill depicted by her in the small village of Godlinze in the North-East of province Groningen. It was in a very bad state and was demolished in 1945. 

And this is the Groningen University "Academie Gebouw", build in 1909 after an earlier building was destroyed by fire, in the province's capital and where students receive their official degree after finishing their studies and where I for several years was allowed to speak, congratulate and welcome fresh academic professionals as colleagues among them one of my sons and more recently his girlfriend Anne-Maartje. 

British printmaker Eric Hesketh Hubbard (1892-1957) printed this "Repair warf in Delft" on the printing press of his friend Hendrik Roodenburg (1895-1987) a well known Dutch  topographic etcher, in 1924.

Please send me more examples of foreign printmakers visiting and working in the Neterlands for sharing in this Blog.

All pictures borrowed freely from the internet for friendly, educational and non commercial use only. 


  1. Emma Bormann visited the Netherlands in 1920. She made a number of prints of Groningen, including an etching of the Church of St. Martin and the market square. Besides the university, she made woodcuts and linocuts of the Aa-Kerk, a canal embankment, the harbor, and the Pepergasthuis. In 1921 she exhibited there with the Pictura art association.

    1. Hallo Andreas, danke ! If you have examples of those prints would you please be so kind sending them to me because I do not have them.