Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Louise Steinbach-Weinhold: Pollards on the isle of Finkenwerder.

Steinbach-Weinhold, Louise (Lise)

      (Dresden 1879-1971 Hamburg) 

Visiting Hamburg and enjoying the city and river Elbe in last postings this is a  good opportunity to show this print that showed up in German Ebay recently. To my knowledge (but that is not a way of measuring) the second example of a print by this forgotten printmaker. It is a limited (12/50) copy printed in 1990 from the original 1909 blocks. I do not have a clue who printed them, where and why, and if the original was at hand to determine and choose colors. (If it wasn't for the horizon it could easily be mistaken for a view of Provincetown Mass. USA)

It's titled "Kopfweiden" (Pollard Willows) in "Finkenwerder": an island in river Elbe just south of the great city. An idyllic place, a fishing community, around 1900 but 100 years later hardly recognizable by "progress': it's todays centre of the German Airbus industry. The sad thing about progress is it cannot be stopped. 

Louise's Pollards: although it's not 100 years old, as it should be, I loved it the moment I saw it. Just three color blocks (blue, green and purple) and a key block were used but it is how the eye is drawn into the composition and the great suggestion of depth (the purple roof top placed under the horizon) by overlooking the broad river from the heights of the moraine, a wall created by friction from the glaciers advancing from the North in successive ice-ages (350.000-150.000 years ago). When they retreated and melted the river bed of todays tidal river Elbe was formed.  

The traditional Elbe "Fischkutter" fleet is/was marked HF (Hamburg Finkenwerder) below by Thomas Herbst. The nearby (opposite) Blankenese fleet SB (Schleswig-Holstein Blankenese).  

Visiting Hamburg and Blankenese, the picturesque village on the opposing Elbe bank, and using the unique Hamburg water taxi service we enjoyed similar views from the other side, the North Bank, overlooking Finkenwerder and the bustling river with endless rows of cargo ships, fishing boats, tugboats and ocean steamers entering and leaving majestic Hamburg harbor. It created an everlasting impression in my memory. As it did on many artists who came here to paint and sketch 100 years before. A selection will be shown in next posting.

Louise, who had been a student of Lovis Corinth (1858-1925) in Berlin's Art Academy, was trained a painter but for most women artists that was to have a career as teacher, what she actually was for a while at a drawing school in her native Dresden. While studying in Berlin she will have learned that new way of Printmaking-the-Japanese-way from Emil Orlik (1870-1932) who was appointed to teach the craft (or is it an art ?) in Berlins "Kunstgewerbe Museum Schule" in 1905. 

Friedrich Schaper: Sommertag in Finkenwerder 1895.

Louise was married to painter and professor Eduard Steinbach (Hamburg 1878-1939) who taught at the Academies of Berlin, Leipzig, Karlsruhe and Hamburg and together leading a private painting school in Hamburg. They lived and worked in Berlin and Hamburg (below: camping along the river  by Eduard Steinbach).

She exhibited in the Berlin Secession 1909/10 and was close friends with painter/printmakers Arthur Illies (1870-1952), who also taught at the Hamburg Arts and Craft (Kunstgewerbe) school and that wonderful but short-lived Friedrich Lissmann (1880-1915) who appeared earlier in this Blog (do follow the label below to read more !)
Willy Dammasch (1887- ?), The Elbe seen from Finkenwerder.

Willy Tiedjen (1881-1950), Elbe impression and Hamburg skyline from Finkenwerder.  

Eduard and Louise worked (and possibly lived) on the Isle of Finkenwerder from 1901-1919 where a small artist colony had emerged frequented in summer by famous impressionist painters like Thomas Herbst (1848-1915) and Friedrich Schaper (1859-1956) but many other artists, local Hamburg painters and the lesser gods, will have payed a visit to this idyllic place with flowering fruit trees, haymaking and its traditional islanders, the inviting "Gasthausen" and fishing fleet.

Gretchen Wohlwill: Heu-ernte auf Finkenwerder.

Rolf Diener (1906-1988) Finkenwerder  

Gretchen Wohlwill (1878-1962), was here, the Jewish painter-printmaker who was befriended with painter, printmaker and Finkenwerder born Eduard Bargheer (1901-1979) (below). 

Printmaker Luigi Kazimir (1879-1937) visiting Hamburg also halted on Finkerwerder Island overlooking the Elbe and Hamburgs skyline on a gloomy day, obviously inspired by Emil Nolde's "Elbe Schlepper" (Elbe tug boat). 

Emil Nolde (1867-1956) 1910: "Elbe Schlepper" 

Hamburg printmaker Hans Förster (1885-1966), a shamefully neglected artist, but one of the earliest (1905-06) and a brilliant student of Emil Orlik in Berlin, immortalized the fishing village individuals of Finkerwerder making him a nice candidate to appear next in the Linosaurus. 

All pictures are mouse-clickable to embiggen.

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


  1. Gerrie - thanks for another very interesting post. I agree that the Kopfweiden print has touches of Provincetown - the path, fence and housetops in particular. For some reason, artists loved the housetops. But for me, pollarded trees are a give-away that a print is European in origin. They are quite rare in the U.S. - and when found are usually in formal parks or gardens. Tom/Boston

    1. Thank you Tom, also for agreeing: I'll back up and explain my statement about the Provincetown resemblance with an "extra" posting and some nice examples soon.