Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Fanny Remak part VI: to Paris with friends

Helen Grund
German painter, writer, editor and journalist.

Auguste von Zitzewitz
German painter, portraitist and graphic artist

Self portrait Augusta von Zitzewitz

When Fanny Remak went to study in Paris, in 1912, she was accompanied by her friends Helen Grund and Auguste von ZitzewitzOf Helen Grund we know she was encouraged by her painting teacher (and Berlin seccesionist) George Mosson (1851-1933). His "Chrysanthemums in a blue vase" below. Auguste, although Mosson was her teacher too, supposedly was encouraged to go to Paris by Kathe Kollwitz.  

Mosson, a Frenchman living and working in Berlin since he was 14, taught also at the “Zeichen und Malschule" of the VdBK (Verein der Berliner Künstlerinnen) and was a member of the Berlin Secession. He lived and worked from 1901 at Nollendorfplatz 1, a large renting house, next to the studio of Seccesionist Lesser Ury (1861-1931) also ran a private painting school and was famous for his flower paintings. Auguste von Zitzewitz had also been among his students. 

Helen Grund photographed by Mann Ray (1890-1976), right. 

Mosson’s relation with Helen Grund however also was of an amorous nature although he was old enough to be her father they were lovers for 7 years until her departure for Paris.

Robert Henry (1865-1929), Café du Dôme, Paris 

Helen Grund came from a well to do family but in her family circulated some serious mental problems. Her mother Julie, her sister Ilse and brother Fritz ended their lives by suicide and another brother, Otto, died in a mental asylum. The rumour went she has had an incestuous relationship with her brother and a lesbian affair with Fanny Remak.

In Paris the women stayed in the circles of Café du Dôme and here Helen met writer and bon vivant Franz Hessel (1880-1941). They were married the year after and in 1913 their first (of two) son was born.

Some years before, when living in Munich, Hessel had been involved with "wild countess" Fanny zu Reventlow (1871-1918) whom I’d met in Fanny’s mothers home in Berlin (see earlier postings on Fanny Remak and Kathe Münzer-Neumann).

The turbulent life story of Helen Grund lead to the French Novel “Jules et Jim” by Henri-Pierre Roché  (the third party in this “ménage a trois”) and to the 1962 “Nouvelle-Vague” movie with Jeanne Moreau (b.1928). Helen became a publisher/editor and was well known figure in Paris society, Auguste returned to Berlin and developed a career as a successful portrait artist. 

Fanny Remak returned to Berlin, working and with Auguste von Zitzewitz sat  together in the board of the VdBK ("Verein der Berliner Künstlerinnen"). To this day I haven't been able to find any example of work by her hand.       


When Fanny Remak went to study in Paris in 1912 she was 28 years of age so it was a surprise recently discovering she exhibited 5 years earlier in 1907 (!) in the Berlin art gallery of (Jewish) Paul and Bruno Cassirer: the prestigious Kunst Salon in the Viktoriastrasse 35 near Kemperplatz and Tiergarten

Julius Jacob (1842-1929), Kemperplatz and Rolandbrunnen

 Kemperplatz-Viktoriastrasse 1910 and 1945.

Recently the history and revelation of it's immensely interesting surviving archive of collections and exhibitions was published (here) in 4 volumes.  

Cassirers prestigious gallery, around the turn of the century, probably had no equal in the world representing and promoting the French (and Berlin) Impressionists and Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890).

In this exhibition Fanny was represented with 4 works in an Exhibition build around Impressionist Camille Pissaro (1830-1903) (30 works) together with  Ernst Oppler (1867-1929) (30 works), Fritz Rhein (1873-1948) (6 works), Heinrich Linde-Walther (1868-1939) (11 works) and Paul Baum (1859-1932)(17 works).  

The titles and catalogue numbers of the works Fanny exhibited:
  • 78. Yachthaven
  • 79. Duc d’Alben(*)
  • 80. Strasse in Travemünde
  • 81. Landungssteg.
(*) Duc d'Alben: "Dückdalben", derived from the name of the much hated Spanish tyrant the Duke of Alba (1507-1582) who ruled the Dutch 7 provinces until 1573. Engl.: Dolphin or bollard. Dutch: Dukdalf or meerpaal

Ulrich Hübner: "Tiergarten Berlin" 

How did Fanny, 23 years young, managed to be represented here amongst these famous and accomplished painters ? The titles (besides the great quality of her paintings might hold an unexpected lead or a clue: Berlin painter and seccesionist Ulrich Hübner (1872-1932). Hübner painted in summer in Travemünde and between 1909 and 1912 he even lived permanently in the seaport village. 

Ulrich Hübner: Travemünde: "Landungssteg und Duc d"Alben"

Hübner was well acquainted with Cassirer and with Berlin's and the international art world. Cassirer, on the other hand was well acquainted in the Paris Café du Dôme circles. 

Panther: Logo of Cassirer Publishing House
designed in 1902 by Max Slevogt (1868-1932).
 the same year Rilke (1875-1926) wrote his famous poem.   

Please send all information you might have concerning Fanny Remak: genealogical, family, paintings, examples  etc…. helping my investigations to shine light on the obscured life of Fanny Remak. At least some of her paintings could have survived the "entarted" or "degenerate" qualifications. Her belongings were seized (confiscated, stolen and auctioned) when she fled from Hamburg to London by the Nazi's (more about this in next episode)   

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

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