Sunday, 13 July 2014

Ruth Laube, unknown German printmaker.

Ruth Laube
(active 1920-1930)

German woodblock printmaker and book illustrator. 
(Possibly active in the Nidden Artist Colony in Lithuania) 

Until last week I knew of just one print by this mysterious printmaker who's signature in Sütterlin (or old/Gothic German handwriting) is as difficult to read for modern Germans as it is to me. The "Fractur" or "Gothic" typographic (printed) script is somewhat easier but nevertheless, almost forgotten by most modern Germans. It was in use from the 16th century until WW 2. Collecting pre-WW2 prints however it is impossible to turn away from it. 

Sütterlin: Gothic handwriting 

Fractur: typographic or Gothic printing script 

For that reason I was very pleased (with myself), as a Dutchman, to be able to decipher the signature (Ruth and not Rolf Laube) and recognizing the printmakers style + monogram RL in this second print by her that I've discovered recently. 

The other one I've found some time ago in the collection of Wolfgang, a friendly and modest German collector, who provided me with this piece of extra information, the frame makers label: Conrad Klein, Heilsberg, Ost-Preußen. (In theory, when so few prints are found, there is a slight chance she might gave been perhaps only locally known. Conrad Klein, the frame maker, is mentioned in the 1936 Heilsberg Sensus but sadly no Laube family. My print was framed in Berlin. 
Heilsberg (now Lidzbark Warmiński in Poland) situated south of the old artistic and academic centre of Köningsberg (now Kalilingrad) not far from the Nidden Artist Colony in the Kurische Nehrung (Courtland Spit) the strip of sand and high dunes situated along the coast with Lithuania. 
(Where Lovis Corinth (1858-1921) taught and Köningsberg Art Academy trained printmaker Daniel Staschus (1872-1953) and his wife Paula participated. They later moved to Munich where with Martha Cunz (1876-1961) and Hans Neumann (1873-1957) they became the most important color woodblock printmakers). Probably printmaker L.E.M (Margarete) Gerhardt (1873-1955) was in the colony too.    

In the course of my ongoing research on pioneering German women printmakers born between 1860 en 1900 Ruth Laube is probably the least known  printmaker among the 140 (!) I'm constantly investigating. The name Ruth Laube in the Internet is also pointing to America, but then: hords of German families emigrated to the New World between 1850-1950.

And there's this 1930 book: "Vom Deutschen Glauben" with two original woodblock illustrations by Ruth Laube. One is shown above

Until the book on these women printmakers is publishable I've decided revealing in the Blog the most difficult and obscured of "my" printmaking ladies. Sooner or later this posting will be picked up by some one who knows more, as has happened regularly before. Therefore all information and comments on Ruth Laube are most welcome. 


  1. The first print of the cosmos is really lovely. Just like the flowers that bloomed in Mom's garden.

    1. It's good to know the English name too. Thanks Karen.

  2. It's good to know the English name too, thanks Karen.

  3. Ruth Laube did work together with the german Artist Else Hertzer in 1924. More Information coming soon Ehen I am at home.

    1. Hallo Mathias, bitte gebrauche mein email: Sehr gern !