Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Frieda Kretschmann-Winckelmann, forgotten, unknown and unloved.

Kretschmann-Winkelmann, Frieda
(Berlin 23-10-1870 – 1939 Berlin)*
German painter, sculptor and graphic artist.
bookplate artist. 

After almost a century of darkness this wonderful artist finally has her deserved  entry in the digital world.

Self at the painting easel

Every now and than I'm lucky to stumble over pictures of a past auction and meet an artist whom I otherwise probably never would have met. All too often these auction results and the pictures afterwards are sold only to be viewed online at a fee. This is of course very tempting and although I fully understand the commercial motivations I fundamentally try to avoid subscribing or using those sites.  

I believe a connoisseur ("GourmetFeinschmecker") with a keen eye, some financial room for manoeuvre and a healthy feeling for a solid future profit bought them (all or most, they appeared in two succeeding internet online auctions). Recently I found them again: now offered for a ten fold of the earlier auction result ! If that is deservedly is up to you: but do I love them !  

She is said to be born as Frieda Kretschmann: there's no strict rule placing the maiden name before or after the husbands' in Germany. I think. She studied with Käthe Kollwitz and although it is stated she was a self taught sculptor in 1922 she studied in Hamburg with sculptor Ludwig Kunstmann (1877-1961)  well known for his animal sculptures. 

 Until 1935 she worked as a teacher in the painting school, the “Malschule des VdBK”. She sculpted a buste of Käthe Kollwitz and made an etching titled “Kathe und Milly(*)” and was a member of the “Deutschen Lyceum Club”, studied in Paris and London and lived for a considerable time with a catholic congregation in Brittany in France.

She received a second price in 1916 in a bookplate contest, but this one (right) is by Franz Stassen (1869-1949). 

A Horst Kretschmann-Winckelmann lived at  Kurfürstendam 126 in Berlin in 1926 and had a subscription to a philosophical magazine.

(bookplate for Horst Kretschmann-Winckelmann) 

She was member of the VdBk ("Verein der Berliner Künstlerinnen")  1901-1937 and board member 1927-1931 exhibiting in Berlin and Munich and with the VdBK 1901-1930. She is mentioned in most Artists Lexicons.


(*) Milly surely refers to sculptor Milly Steger (1881-1948), who in 1917 was visited in her studio by Kathe Kollwitz. She was an admirer of Aristide Maillol and Auguste Rodin and was appointed "city-sculptor" of the city of Hagen. Her 4 bigger than life sculptured classic nudes, Caryatides, placed on the pillars of the local theater front caused a huge scandal at the time, now hard to understand. How far, in 2500 years since in Athens, have we "progressed" ?  

 Caryatides in Hagen and from the Acroplis Temple in Athens

And a (very Maillol) Caryatide at her home in Hagen "holding up" the balcony.  

* Although her exact day of birth is delivered to us through time no further family or genealogical data could be found. So much was destroyed in WW2 that this is often the case. Please help me find or confirm her family circumstances. And if possible send other examples of her work for sharing. 
She is possibly related to Lily (Braun-) Kretschmann (1865-1916) a feminist writer and daughter of Baron Hans von Kretschmann (1832-1899) and Jenny Auguste Frieda Karoline von Gustedt (1843-1903). Her sister Marie-Else von Kretschmann (1878-1920) was married to graphic artist and Secessionist Otto Eckmann (1865-1902).

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

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